Programme Forêts et eau

Cool Insights For Hot World: a virtual symposium

21/03/2017 16/02/2017

More details coming soon...

In a landmark recent publication, Ellison et al. (2017)* reviewed current understanding of the way trees, forests and climate interact. Key points for the virtual seminar derive from that review (and underpinning references):

  • It’s a hot world – all valid means and pathways are needed to keep climate change in check
  • Cool insights – three climate scales (micro- (tree), meso-(landscape, forest) & macro-climate) align where we talk of temperature, rainfall, wind speed; stakeholders also synergize/align more easily than in a climate discourse exclusively focused on carbon & other greenhouse gases
  • Forests & trees – this is about a continuum, not a forest/nonforest dichotomy; trees in urban and rural settings dominate benefits at microscale, forests in landscapes at meso, and large remaining forests at continental scales
  • Novelty – ‘what everybody knows’ now has firm science backing; it’s new for existing climate policy and its segregated concepts of mitigation and adaptation; hydroclimate is new as focus; trees and hydroclimate aspects of ‘climate smart agriculture’ remain obscured in the existing mitigation/adaptation language
  • Complexity – the multiple scales and multiple feedbacks involved in the full hydrological cycle (interacting oceans, land masses, vegetation, atmosphere) are at the current cutting edge of planetary climate science
  • Simplicity – the basic idea that ‘trees are cool’ is easy to grasp, and a pretty safe basis for action within an overarching Sustainable Development Goals framework, with goals on water, climate and human wellbeing; Regional/continental cooperation on ‘ecological rainfall infrastructure’ doesn’t have to wait for international (UNFCCC) agreements and modalities
  • Urgency – with the carbon-based forest conservation mechanisms not delivering on the REDD+ promise (for various reasons), the direct and multiple hydroclimatic befits of forests and trees can give fresh impetus to managing global land cover and avoid existing bottlenecks.