FCT

R&D Institutions

Resultado da avaliação 2007 na área de Ciências Agrárias

Unidade de I&D

Centro de Estudos Florestais [AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239] visitada em 18/01/2008

Classificação: Very Good

Comentários do painel de avaliação
Sobre a unidade
Goals, on going and planned projects, strategic development in the future.
The main focus of the Unit is on the ecology of forest ecosystems and riparian ecology, forest and wood technology and mathematical modelling. The Unit consists currently of five research areas (Forest ecosystems and climate change, Ecology and management of populations and communities, Atlantic and Mediterranean forest ecosystems management under global change, Science and technology of forest products, and Mathematical modelling), which have been formed of the eight research groups existing earlier in 2003-2006. The Unit has outstanding expertise on the Portuguese cork and eucalyptus systems. This research is very much in the core excellence of most of the groups/ newly established research themes of the Unit.
Based on the written documents as well as the presentations and discussions during the site visit, the Unit seems very well organized and well lead. The Panel observed remarkably good atmosphere and enthusiasm. The Unit as a whole has currently a fairly good balance between senior and junior researchers (post doctoral researchers and PhD students) and has been able to attract a critical mass of researchers working on an interesting research agenda combining multidisciplinary expertise. The Unit seems to provide a supportive and interdisciplinary training environment for the PhD and MSc students. The Panel is of the opinion that the Unit is in general performing very well and is clearly meeting high international standards in its work.
However, the Panel would like to make the following recommendations regarding specifically the future development needs of the theme 2 (Ecology and management of populations and communities) and theme 5 (Mathematical modelling):
The Panel observed that there is a need to build more coherence and internal integration regarding research theme 2. A general framework such as land use and watershed management could help to integrate the current areas of research on fish community ecology and behaviour, wetland and riparian ecology and pest management and plant herbivore/parasitoid interactions to a more coherent research agenda for the theme 2.
Regarding research theme 5, the Panel recommends further integration with other research themes to really advance in adopting mathematical modelling as one approach in forest ecology where to Unit will develop its core competence.




In addition, the Panel would like to make the following recommendations:
- there is a need for the Unit to strengthen collaboration with groups/ research teams having socio-economic expertise (e.g. regarding issues such as land use, wetland area management, forest conservation, cork and eucalyptus system management and utilization);
- joining an associated laboratory in the future would significantly advance synergies regarding forest ecology and management and would contribute to international visibility of the Unit;
- there is clearly a need for updating equipment and making necessary arrangements to better utilize the research infrastructure of national importance (e.g. collaboration with the National Forest Station as a research facility under the system of state laboratories);
- there is an urgent need to make necessary arrangements regarding administrative and accounting support from the Faculty and enhancing the ways how the Unit could participate in developing the Faculty’s strategic research agenda.

Training of young researchers and students
Very good

Organization of workshops
Very good

Interdisciplinary activities
Very good

Interactions with other national and international research units and companies
Good

Participation in international research programmes (EU etc.)
Good

Knowledge and technology transfer
Very good

Outreach activities
Very good

Attitude and work environment
Very good
Sobre os grupos de investigação
Aquatic Resources and Wetland Management [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-825]
This group deals with a broad scope of issues, grouped in 9 research fields that might be a bit too much to handle. Research topics are relevant. Productivity of research cannot be judged quantitatively, but has a good quality in what has been shown. Training results are good. International networks and cooperation satisfactory/good. Future research fields have been defined and still are very diverse and maybe a bit too much
to cover them all sufficiently with available people?
This is a fairly large group consisting of 13 researchers (PhD) and 8 other researchers (non PhD). The research of the group is aiming at understanding the biotic and abiotic interactions in natural and man-driven ecosystems and development of management practices and sustainable use of aquatic species and ecosystems. The group is publishing in good international journals, and the number of citations of some of the papers is good. The group has produced a new prototype of a pool-type fish way. The group has enjoyed a substantive national external funding, and some significant external funding from EU sources (EU FP5, EVK2, Interreg IIIC-SUD). The training outcome has been sufficient with 4 PhD and 4 MSc theses.
There will be an organizational rearrangement which will broaden the scope of the group.
Ecology of forest ecosystems [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-824]
Objectives of this group have been divided in three relevant and manageable areas connected to important tree species and set against the stage of climate stress. Productivity of the group cannot be judged completely but seems of high quality. The group has a good scientific and societal network, also internationally, good training results (PhD and Masters) as well as sound and feasible objectives for future. Point of attention t is the strengthening of Remote Sensing and GIS. This requires either enough investments and/or good cooperation with other parties.
This is a fairly large group consisting of 14 researchers (PhD) and 12 other researchers (non PhD). The group is studying the impact of climate change on trees and ecosystem functioning, focusing mostly on the effects of drought. The group is publishing in international journals with high impact factor, and the number of citations of many of the papers is exceptionally high. The group has produced new methodologies and a patent, and has been successful in industry contracted research and externally funded projects (both EU FP5, FP6, Interreg and national sources). The training outcome has been sufficient with 3 PhD and 4 MSc theses.
There will be an organizational rearrangement by merging the group with the remote sensing and geographical analysis group to strengthen multidisciplinary approaches and different methodologies.
Forest resources inventory and modelling [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-827]
This is a small group with a clear focus, high production and good relations with industry.
The group is focusing on the development of tools to predict forest development under alternative forest management, fire and harvest conditions, including forest inventory methodologies. The group is publishing in good international journals. The group has been successful both in industry contracted research and in externally funded projects (e.g. EU FP6, Interreg IIIB and national sources). The training outcome has been very good for such a small group, with a total of 5 PhD theses and one MSc.
There will be an organizational rearrangement by merging the group with two other groups into a new research line "Atlantic and Mediterranean forest ecosystems management under global change" to develop new and innovative methodological and strengthen transfer of knowledge.
Forest resources management and economics [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-829]
This is a small group consisting of 4 researchers (PhD) and 6 other researchers (non PhD). The group is developing models for multipurpose forestry as well as developing ICT to forest management planning and land use planning. The group is publishing in international and national journals, overall not with a very high profile.
The group has developed several decision making support tools/ systems, and has been successful in industry contracted research. The group has participated in organizing sessions in international meetings and reports a very attractive list of networking partners and international collaborators. The group has been fairly successful in obtaining external funding for projects (both EU FP6 and national sources, including consultancy). The training outcome has not been very high with only 1 PhD and 3 MSc theses.
There will be an organizational rearrangement by merging the group with other research groups into the research line "Atlantic and Mediterranean forest ecosystems management under global change".
This relatively small group demonstrates good productivity even with not so high IP figures. The group has reached a solid knowledge on the forest management modelling and decision support and the results have reached different key users. Broad international contacts allowed knowledge and information exchange. There are various sources for funding - national and international. The forthcoming merge of this group will contribute to more integrated character of investigations.
Mathematical modelling [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-831]
This group of very limited size ((4 PhD+1other) intends to do modelling, spatial analysis in a wide range of research fields. Their role is thought to support other disciplines; there is on beforehand a close relationship with GIS and Remote Sensing in the other RG's? The approach showed during site visit was very mathematical, questions could arise whether or not a strong link with/ insight in underlying ecological and biogeographical processes was taken on board. Data on scientific productivity are incomplete given, neither on training, international cooperation a.s.o. Therefore a rating is difficult, though in general all research can profit from this expertise. A question is whether a group of this size should be an organizational unit next to RS/GIS or better combined with the latter. Or even: to combine researchers with relevant disciplinary Research groups and organize a horizontal exchange of people and experiences when mathematical/ modelling aspects are at stake?
The group will be active from 2007 onwards, and has not therefore been able to provide most of the information requested.
Remote sensing and geographical analysis [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-826]
This group is small (4 PhD), 3 others, aimed at forestry issues (incl forest fires, biomass storage etc) Research fields are relevant. . Its scientific productivity seems to be OK, both in quantity and quality. Training results are sufficient/good. International networks and cooperation is sufficient. Objectives for the future encompass a shift towards climate change related aspects, biodiversity change, modelling. All topics are relevant but the group as such is understaffed and needs strong cooperation with stronger units in either RS and GIS or forest/ ecology related groups. Good care should be given to feasible work plans and close contacts with scientific feeding ground.
The group is focusing on producing research which is relevant for fire-prevention policy-making and planning as well as on studying biomass burning especially in tropical regions. The group is publishing in international journals with very high impact factor, and the number of citations of many of the papers is good. The group has very significant contracted research both from the government agencies and the private sector. Also other external funding has been secured (e.g. EU sources). The training outcome especially for PhD's (4) has been very good concerning the size of the group.
There will be an organizational rearrangement by merging the group with the ecology of forest ecosystems group to strengthen multidisciplinary approaches and different methodologies.
Science and technology of forest products [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-830]
This is a medium-sized group of 9 researchers and 10 PhD students with a total funding of 209 K€ from 2003-2006. The evaluation was conducted on the basis of a meeting with the group and formal presentations. We did not visit the laboratories, but this would not have provided much further information as the group works in the field and with data supplied from outside sources.
The general impression was very good. The leader clearly has a vision and a goal and is enthusiastic about her subject. She and the group have a clear understanding of the product chain of both the cork oak and the eucalyptus (the main species they study), and the future work programme is good, containing two novel ideas 1 To search for new industrial used for cork oak wood 2 To search for new applications for eucalyptus wood
Both woods are underused at the moment (eucalyptus is turned to pulp for paper), thus there is potential added value in this approach.
The financing has been uneven over the past four years, due to an EU FP contract in 2004 that boosted funds. I would encourage the group to pursue their efforts for FP7 contracts with their European partners. They have good links with Finland and I would encourage them to seek partnerships with Norway and Austria, both of which have major forest and forest-related industries.
The number of PhDs was lower in 2007 than in the previous years and this should be corrected if the group wishes to retain a good ranking in future evaluations.
This is a fairly small group consisting of 9 researchers (PhD) and 9 other researchers (non PhD). The group is focusing on forest products especially regarding their end-use oriented quality and variability and processing.
The group is publishing in international journals of relatively high impact factor, and the articles listed have generally been fairly well cited. The group has been successful in obtaining industry funded contracts.
Furthermore, the group has significant coordination activities regarding both national and international projects and has secured a constant flow of external funding (e.g. EU Interreg IIIB and national sources). The training

outcome has been good for the size of the group, with a total of 4 PhD theses and 2 MSc. The group leader has been awarded personal Excellency award.


Silvicultural systems [RG-AGR-LVT-Lisboa-239-828]
This is a very small group consisting of 3 researchers (PhD) and 1 other researcher (non PhD) and focusing on the management of the principal trees species in Portugal. The group is reporting some publications in

international journals/ edited volumes. However, information provided is far from complete, especially regarding the IF and CI information, and information on external funding is lacking. One PhD thesis has been reported (name of the student missing).
There will be an organizational rearrangement by merging the group with two others to establish a new research line on "Atlantic and Mediterranean forest ecosystems management under global change".
Overall for such a small group the data on productivity is good, but incomplete with regard to IF and NC figures.
There is lack of information on participation in international projects. The future merge of this group with other groups seems advisable.