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Branching out - Episode 4, November 2023

What do Southeast Asia – especially Malaysia and Indonesia –, Madagascar, the Andes, Central America and the Caribbean, just to name a few, have in common? They are biodiversity hotspots, so regions characterized both by exceptional levels of plant endemism (meaning species that only grow there) and a particularly vulnerable environment.

The new podcast episode is out! This time we discuss the relationship between biodiversity and other services our forests provide.

As already known, Jose Bolaños (IUFRO HQ) presents the podcast, and our cohost spotlights rotate to offer diverse perspectives. This time, we were delighted to have Peter Edwards, a senior researcher at Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research, New Zealand. He urges to think beyond the physical forest products, but the services that forests provide. Both set the stage and talked about how forest are not just trees, but the tapestry of life on land. Peter Edwards is Deputy Coordinator of  Working Party 9.01.07 – Media analysis and Deputy Coordinator of Working Party 9.05.01 – Bioeconomy policy.

Sally Aitken, from University of British Columbia and IUFRO Scientific Achievement Awardee 2014, guides us through the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. She unveils how diversity forms the backbone of resilient ecosystems, providing us with essential services. Sally emphasizes the need to embrace diversity at both species and genetic levels with research as our compass in the face of change.

Next Marjana Westergren, Slovenian Forest Institute and deputy coordinator of IUFRO Division on physiology and genetics, shares her insight about forest genetic resources and diversity, a cornerstone for ecosystem services. Marjana also explores the untapped potential in less-studied tree species, stressing the importance of responsible use and experimentation. She is Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO Working Party 2.04.11 – Alpine forest genomics and Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO Division 2 – Physiology and Genetics.

After that we go into a journey through a forest landscape restoration project in Sri Lanka with K.M.A. Bandara, who walks us through a real-world example implemented with the support of IUFRO’s Special Programme for Development of Capacities (SPDC), showcasing how removing an invasive species positively impacts biodiversity, and how the key for the success of these projects is legislative support, clear objectives, and stakeholder involvement. He is Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO Working Party 1.02.04 – Sustainable management and genetic resources in Meliaceae and IUFRO International Council Representative for Sri Lanka.

Last but certainly not least, Nazmus Sadath from Khulna University in Bangladesh shares his views on how effective governance, integrated policies, and community involvement are critical for halting biodiversity loss, and why collaboration is key to successful forest landscape restoration. He is Deputy Coordinator of IUFRO Workding Party 9.05.06 – Community forestry.

We invite you to tune in to the Branching Out: the forest podcast. Listen wherever you enjoy your podcasts,  on Spotify and Apple Podcasts or here our website, and don't forget to subscribe, rate and review!

branching-out-episode-4.mp359 Mi
branching-out-episode-4-transcript.docx84 Ki
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