An International Summer School teaches innovative tools to manage European forests in a sustainable and resilient manner

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An International Summer School was organised from 24 to 28 June 2019 in Waterford, Ireland as part of the outreach program of EFIPLANT and WIT (Waterford Institute of Technology). Under the title “Protecting the Forest Resource: Risk assessment and Management using Innovative Tools”, the summer school focused on the risk tools developed in the EU project PLURIFOR in order to encourage researchers, practicing foresters, forest planners, and other stakeholders to utilise them to assist in forest planning and management.

The summer school - officially opened by the Irish Forestry Minister, Mr. Andrew Doyle- had 28 attendees attending for the whole week from 15 countries (12 in Europe and 3 outside of Europe), and in addition there were a further 7 attendees from Ireland for the Tuesday talks, and approximately 10 to 12 further participants on the Wednesday field day at the John F. Kennedy arboretum in Ballysop, including members of the Irish Forest Service and staff of the arboretum.


Mr. Andrew Doyle, Irish Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture opening the summer school
Mr. Andrew Doyle, Irish Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture opening the summer school


The tutors came from EFIPLANT, WIT, INRA, CETEMAS, Neiker, CIF-Lourizán, University of Aberdeen, Suleyman Demirel University, Forest Service Ireland, Teagasc, Forest Research (UK), Coillte, Broomhill Ecology, University College Dublin, and DAFM (Ireland) (Consult all the field activities, lectures, training sessions and group work and discussions in the program, here)

The summer school was an excellent forum for introducing the outputs of the PLURIFOR project and to discuss the variety of risk tools and methodologies available in real forestry situations. The Monday visit was to a farm forestry site near to McGarth’s Cross, followed by a visit to a predominately commercial spruce forest called Kilclooney Forest.


Field visit to farm forestry site near McGrath's Cross, Waterford


These two sites provided a focus for the summer school and allowed an investigation of the challenges facing forestry in such locations, the hazards affecting the trees now and into the future, and how to incorporate these threats into management plans.


Field visit to Kilclooney Forest


The final session of the summer school involved group discussions related to the mentioned visits. The groups suggested how a number of the tools presented and used during the week in the lectures, laboratory sessions, and arboretum field work could be helpful in analysing the current situation and the probable future situation, assessing the threats to the forests, and incorporating those threats into their management plans to ensure the objectives for each site were met.


Training in the use of MCDA (Multi Criteria Decision Analysis)
Training in the use of MCDA (Multi Criteria Decision Analysis)


This year´s international summer school offered an ideal opportunity of presenting results of the PLURIFOR project, to a wide audience who can potentially utilise the project deliverables and will spread the word about these deliverables. It also provided an ideal environment for sharing knowledge and experience across Europe and further afield, and for developing strong peer groups in the forestry community who will be able to support each other in the future. These foresters, engineers and scientists will help to ensure that European forests are managed in a sustainable and resilient manner in the future.


More info about the event here

Photos provided by organizers