Spotlight #84 - Task Force probes 'whys' behind increased tree mortality

Tree mortality appears to be increasing at unprecedented rates. One may be tempted to think: So what? Trees regenerate. They'll grow back. But, for a lot of reasons, it's not quite that simple.

"Forests are incredibly complex ecosystems that have taken centuries – even millennia – to establish," says Dr. Henrik Hartmann, of the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany. He and four deputies: Adriane Esquivel Muelbert, Aster Gebrekirstos, Nadine Ruehr and Bernhard Schuldt are coordinating IUFRO's Monitoring Global Tree Mortality Patterns and Trends Task Force.

This Task Force is tackling a timely and urgent topic – potential changes in trends of global tree mortality. Its mission is to provide an empirical basis on global tree mortality for sustainable policy making.

This is important because currently there is no integrated large-scale assessment available on the general state of our forests, despite many independent studies indicating that tree mortality is increasing.

The Task Force envisions generating a coherent picture of global tree mortality and the causes, which can be broadly used in research and policy making.

You are invited!

Nov 17 (5 pm, CET):
First online web seminar "Global forest monitoring using satellite data"
Guest speaker: MATT HANSON, University of Maryland, author of the GLOBAL FOREST WATCH
Register at:

The International Tree Mortality Network, an initiative of the IUFRO Task Force on Monitoring Trends and Patterns in Global Tree Mortality, is offering a series of online seminars. These seminars will take place as online web seminars in regular intervals (6 to 8 seminars per year).

If you are interested in contributing to the seminar series and/or have suggestions for additional speakers, please write to: treemortnet(at)


Further reading:

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