Training Workshop III


Scientific Advisor:
IUFRO Working Party 8.01.04 “Water supply and quality”

Lead Trainer:
Yanhui Wang, Chinese Academy of Forestry, China

Resource Persons:
Pengtao Yu, Chinese Academy of Forestry, China
Kyoung Ha Kim, Korea Forest Research Institute, Republic of Korea

Michael Kleine, IUFRO-SPDC

Workshop Results:
Forests and water are closely interlinked and equally important for the world’s sustainable development. Understanding their interaction is a basic requirement for sustainable forestry and forest management, especially in regions where water is short. In recent years, more attention has been given to the debate about water-related influences on forest ecosystems and forest management, particularly on issues of flood and water yield. Improving insight and latest knowledge of these issues among scientists and practitioners will therefore be very helpful for future forestry development.

Therefore, the workshop on “Forests and Water Interactions” was organized as part of the IUFRO-SPDC Pre-Congress Training Programme, at the Forest Human Resources Development Institute (FHI) in Namyangjiu City (near Seoul), Republic of Korea. The workshop offered participants from developing countries access to latest knowledge on issues of forest-water interactions, the scientific base and applications through process-based models. The participants enhanced though their ability and skills in applying state-of-the-art forest eco-hydrological knowledge in modern forest-related research and education.

The training workshop was designed and lead by Professor Dr. Yanhui Wang (Chinese Academy of Forestry), Associate Professor Dr. Pengtao Yu (Chinese Academy of Forestry) and Dr. Kyoung Ha Kim (Korea Forest Research Institute). In total, 18 scientists (10 women and 8 men) working at universities and research institutions from 11 countries participated in the workshop.

The two and a half day workshop started with a short introduction by Dr. Kleine on the background and need for such a training event followed by an overview by Professor Dr. Yanhui Wang about the workshop content comprising the following seven sessions:

•    Forest-water-interaction related processes and measurement;
•    Important influencing factors and their measurements;
•    Current knowledge about forest hydrological functions;
•    The management of forest hydrological impact;
•    Eco-hydrological models and their application;
•    Various case studies on model applications; and
•    Wrap-up discussions.

In the first session on Wednesday morning, Dr. Kim explained the processes related to forest-water-interaction and their measurement, including precipitation, canopy interception, evapo-transpiration, soil infiltration, soil water movement and runoff. He also presented some research examples from Korea and other countries in the region providing the participants, especially those with limited experience in the discipline, a basic knowledge of forest-water interaction. In the afternoon, Dr. Kim guided the participants in a visit of the forest hydrological research sites of the Korea Forest Research Institute.

In the second session, Prof. Wang classified the most important influencing factors of forest-water-interaction into 4 groups: climate, landform, soil and vegetation. Then he briefly explained the measurements of some important factors, such as average rainfall, evaporation, transpiration, soil profile and soil physics, soil moisture, leaf area index, and trunk growth dynamics.

In the third session, Professor Wang described the forest hydrological functions, such as runoff regulation, flood alleviation, erosion control, water quality improvement, and especially the recent progress made in research related to water yield response and afforestation/deforestation. It was pointed out that the reduction in water yield is a serious issue to be considered in many regions with water shortage. He summarized that forest soil plays an important role for maintaining the forest hydrological functions. Therefore, erosion control and soil amelioration are fundamental activities to be pursued. However, water yield reduction is normally an adverse effect, and is the most important limiting factor to forestry.

In the fourth session, Professor Wang first explained the concepts related to the management of forest hydrological functions. Any forest can supply many different functions at the same time, but the functions are not always compatible with each other and with the people’s needs. Thus, the various functions should be maintained and enhanced as much as possible by properly managing the forests. Thereafter, the best management practice in the USA was presented as an example of integrated forest management, including the practice of timber harvesting, riparian management, forest road building, water diversion devices, stream crossings, wood transportation, site preparation, and reforestation.

Forest hydrological models, especially the processes-based and distributed eco-hydrological models, are increasingly used as decision-support tools in integrated management of forest and water. Therefore, the fifth session of the workshop was dedicated to this topic and Dr. Yu introduced the hydrological models including their structure, classification, application capability and limitations. Then, the model Brook90 was taken as an example for illustrating model calibration, validation, simulation and result interpretation. Thereafter, the participants split into groups to learn more about the use of the Brook90 by running this model on their own notebook under the guidance of Dr. Yu. Finally, all groups reported, explained and actively discussed their simulation results under given ecological scenarios.

In the second last session many different case studies were discussed and included lysimeter application in Germany to determine tree evapo-transpiration, comparison of water balance among different forest types in Brandenburg, Germany, long-term and multi-scaled ecohydrological studies in the dryland regions of northern China conducted by the research group of Professor Wang, water yield reduction due to forestation in dryland Northwestern China, and the application of the SWIM model in Germany and China.

In the discussion session, the participants were encouraged to present problems faced in their own study and work. Since they were asked to prepare this at the beginning of the workshop, many of them were very active in showing their research projects, especially looking for possible reasons and solutions of their problems.

In the workshop summary, Professor Wang thanked all participants for their active participation, the staff from IUFRO-SPDC and Korean organizations for their support, and wished the participants to keep in contact and use the newly gained forest-water interaction knowledge in their own works.

This workshop has been successful because:

•    a platform was built among participants for future exchange and cooperation;
•    the latest technical knowledge discussed will assist in future hydrological works of
      participants; and
•    the workshop pursued holistic thinking, which can be enhanced by learning about trans-disciplinary, multi-scaled, process-based forest-water interactions.

All in all, the workshop contributed to enhancing the working ability and skills of the participants in applying ecological research results in modern forestry practices.

Participants' Evaluation

In total, 69 persons (32 women, 37 men) from 28 countries participated in the Training Workshops. Results of the training and satisfaction with the workshops were surveyed by an on-line questionnaire available to the participants during a period of one month after the Training Workshops. In total, 40 people responded to the request for comments.

In the survey, questions were addressed on the evaluation of 1) the individual thematic workshops, their content, difficulty, and value for the participants, 2) the additional skills training modules, and 3) the general organization and facilities of the Training Workshops.

Out of a total number of 40 responses, 8 commented on the Workshop on Forests and Water Interactions.

All but one answers indicated that there was great satisfaction with the Workshop, underlining that it lived up to the expectations of the participants. The relevance to the job of the participants was given, and all participants confirmed that they would be able to use well what they had learned.

General agreement was pointed out with regard to the Workshop objectives, the added value from the training (one negative opinion), the pace of the Workshop (one negative opinion) and the quality of preparation by the instructors. The highest score was given for recommending the Workshop to colleagues (but with one negative opinion).

With regard to improving the Workshop, participants opted for increasing the content covered in the Workshop (75%), making the activities more stimulating (50%), and increasing the workshop time (88%).

Overall comments about the value of the Workshop highlighted that participants appreciated in particular the information gathered with regard to simulation models, the trade off between afforestation and water provision in management policies in dryland areas, and sharing knowledge with other participants and networking. For a future Training they suggest to include more intensive training on models, more practical activities and that SPDC would support IUFRO membership fees for all participants to obtain access to IUFRO benefits.