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TRANZFOR programme (2009-2012) - Transferring Research between EU and Australia-New Zealand on Forestry and Climate Change


Quality and mutual benefit of the transfer of knowledge

Programme description: the joint programme of staff exchange detailed in Table 3 will provide the common basis for collaborative activities between participants. This programme of transfer of knowledge between partners includes joint research and training activities (Table 4) and dissemination activities such as seminars, workshops (Table 5). It has been developed on the basis of: (i) common research priorities between participants in relation with the main theme of the project; (ii) complementary expertise of the participants and possible synergies (see B1.3); and (iii) transfer of knowledge and methodologies between the different partners through a balanced exchange of staff, including early stage researchers, senior researchers and research engineers or technicians for technological developments.

Table 3

joint programme of staff exchange (2009-2012) - Workpackages


Table 4 : Programme for joint research activities between partners

Describes in more detail the selected research items and specific objectives for the transfer of knowledge between partners involved in each topic, and the number and duration of staff exchanged for each topic. Each year, an average of 3 staff members will be involved and exchanged for each topic; topic 4 on risk assessment ranks as a first common priority in this programme, other topics being more or less equal in terms of exchanged person months.
  • For the genetic and genomic aspects (topic 1), there has been already in the past some very active collaboration between partners, mainly within bilateral frameworks, for example between INRA and Scion , or ISA and CSIRO in relation with pines and eucalyptus breeding programmes. In the context of altered climates, characterization of the diversity of adaptive traits such as drought tolerance, disease resistance,... and of related candidate genes will allow further optimisation of breeding strategies and of the choice and deployment of forest reproductive material; benefits will be gained in tree improvement programmes of partners involved from comparative approaches and cross-validation of the same traits, genes and QTLs in tree species of common interest between EU and Australia and New Zealand. Research will also be initiated to identify tree species potentially adapted to expected climate and environmental changes over the next 100 years in Western-Southern EU and Australasia.
    ► staff exchanged : 12 researchers
    ► duration in months : 78

  • For the modelling aspects (topic 2), there has been some collaboration in the past between partners for the development of different types of forest models (stand growth models, individual tree architecture models, process-based models, wood quality models ,…) and simulation and decision support tools at various scales to optimize forest management and planning. More recently, there has been emphasis in Europe on more detailed, versatile forest growth models and forest resources simulators able to forecast forest growth, account for changes in growing conditions, address risks and society needs and explicitly address forest management and its role within sustainable development. There will be mutual benefits in cross-validation of those models using data from contrasted situations; by exchanging methods and results, the quality and consistency of forest growth models to simulate the responses of forests to alternative managerial and climate scenarios will also be enhanced.
    ► staff exchanged : 12 researchers
    ► duration in months : 70

  • For the environmental services (topic 3), collaborative work has been conducted in the past within bilateral programme on site productivity and fertility , forest carbon cycle and sequestration and more recently on the functional role of biodiversity. The emphasis of the proposed collaborative work will be to investigate response functions for each of the environmental services (water, biodiversity, carbon, soil quality) in relation with forest management alternatives and climatic scenarios. The main mutual benefits of the joint programme will be to be able to test those generic functions under contrasted environment. In particular, the collaboration between the partner countries will add important synergies and benefits because of the different partners’ experience in working in climates and with tree species for which there is no ‘local’ experience, but that may well occur in the future.
    ► staff exchanged : 11 researchers
    ► duration in months : 72

  • For the risk aspects (topic 4), there has been extensive exchange in the past between researchers in Forest Research and INRA with colleagues in New Zealand and Australia; and there is ongoing collaboration on the risk of wind damage with exchanges of ideas, knowledge and models . Currently Dr J. Finnigan of CSIRO is a visiting fellow of Forest Research with the objective of working with FR to develop a better understanding of airflow over forested complex terrain. Exchanges of staff have been made also between FR Tree Health Division (Dr D Wainhouse), INRA (Dr H Jactel) and Scion at Rotorua, New Zealand (Dr M Kay), and Christchurch (Dr E Brockerhoff) in relation to Biosecurity risks and pest management. There are also some active on-going collaborations with CSIRO on forest fire risk management; for example, CSIRO researchers are involved in the Advisory Committee of FIRE PARADOX IP project coordinated by ISA (see table 7). The benefits of the joint exchange programme will be an ability to contrast the approaches taken in each country to abiotic and biotic risks and to develop generic and robust approaches to predicting risks using the best approaches developed in each country. In particular the difficult topic of interacting risk such as insect attack following wind damage can be addressed through use of some of the new techniques emerging from complex systems science. By developing a generic approach it becomes possible to consider in time mapping the changing level of forest risk under a changing climate at a global level.
    ► staff exchanged : 12 researchers | ► duration in months : 80
    ► staff exchanged : 4 engineers/technicians | ► duration in months : 24

  • For the bioenergy aspects (topic 5), there has been collaboration in the past within different frameworks such as the IEA bioenergy programme which was lead by NZFRI (Scion) to develop for example best management practices for short-rotation forestry systems. More recently, as a consequence of international agreements and national energy policies aimed at negating the effects of climate changes, promoting sustainability and self sufficiency, the contribution of forest biomass systems into energy mix and the trade of wood-based products such as chips, pellets, logs has increasing widely in EU and world wide. A major barrier to this development is the uncertainty surrounding quality, with specifications varying widely amongst producers/suppliers. The collaborative research will focus on more applied aspects and will include exchange of methodologies,training and demonstration activities; it is expected that there will be mutual benefits in developing and providing technical advice and best practice guidance which could be used by all partners.
    ► staff exchanged : 2 researchers | ► duration in months : 24
    ► staff exchanged : 5 engineers/technicians | ► duration in months : 28

Table 5

Provides a detailed list of conferences and workshops where TRANZFOR activities will be presented and discussed during the duration of the project. TRANZFOR consortium will organise seminars as specific sessions within larger scientific conferences organised in the five countries involved in the project. During those seminars, presentations of TRANZFOR activities and dissemination of results will be provided to the wider scientific community and to the forest-based sector. Additional seminars and training activities will be part of the activities of hosted researchers; for the long stays of 12 months, it will be a requirement that an initial local seminar and a final local seminar with results are organised by the visiting researcher for the hosting partner and any additional partners or stakeholders.


Added value

The added value of this project will be important given the quality and current level of collaborative activities between the partners involved. The added-value and gained knowledge will be mainly obtained from (1) intensive exchange of ideas, concepts and methodologies; (2) exchange of data and cross-validation of models ; (3) application and test of conceptual and generic models in contrasted situations; (4) comparative analysis of data and research results and joint synthesis and publications. It is expected that there will be a joint publication for each topic and partner, giving a total of 15 joint publications.

Beyond improved scientific knowledge for the partners involved, there will also be an added value in many areas of applications of the joint exchange programme (breeding programmes, decision support systems for SFM, valuation of environmental services, biosecurity, bioenergy standards….) that will benefit from interactions with forest-based sectors from both sides of the planet and from professional development and potential funding. A liaison with Australian and New Zealand professionals, and vice-versa with EU forest-based sector, for example through national support groups of the FTP, has the potential to develop an effective advisory resource for both the countries public and private sectors. Working with the countries’ respective professionals would increase the depth and extent of knowledge on both sides. As part of the long stays (12 months), it is expected that exchanged staff will organise a training session for researchers of the hosting partner, but also in some cases participate in appropriate country based graduate courses.