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March, 2016

CEF - Forest Research Center

We are very proud to introduce you to the first number of CEF's Newsletter. Helena Pereira, the coordinator of the Forest Rersearch Centre talks about this new project.
Seminars on cork and eucalypt, the celebration of the 150 years of forest studies and a charity appeal. These were some of the events that recently took place at CEF.
We invite you to watch the new video about CEF. The Forest Research Centre is one research unit based at the School of Agriculture (ISA), University of Lisbon. 
Discover the ForChange International Networking and the ongoing Phd projects of our Laboratory of forest insect pests.
Hot Topics
CEF and the National Music Museum are involved in a pioneering study in Portugal using dendrochronology as dating method of violins and cellos.
CEF's 40th aniversary will be comemorated during 2016. The first event will take place on the end of March.
PhD Thesis
Phd defences at CEF in the last four months.
Find out what CEF investigators have been publishing on the last months.

Helena Pereira - CEF coordinator


CEF celebrates this year its 40th anniversary. This is certainly a good moment to launch our newsletter.

It has been a rich and challenging journey since 1976 on the research paths on forests and forest products. Three generations of researchers have constructed CEF. It started within the framework of an objective-oriented project around the eucalypt ecosystem, combining multidisciplinarity with a problem solving approach and the creation of new knowledge. Several of the present senior researchers developed their doctoral theses in this context. Later CEF’s research evolved to other forest systems and challenges. Now CEF focuses on the issues of multifunctionality, sustainable management under climatic, social and economic changes, with a full resource use in a bioeconomy context. Our site shows the present research structure and organization.

This newsletter is meant to show our activities and share some of our results. We will give information on the publications that appeared, the new PhD awards, the projects that started or finished, as well as the events that we organized.

Your suggestions and proposals are welcomed!

Helena Pereira
CEF coordinator

Click the image above to watch the video about CEF
Forests, related ecosystems, forest products and forest related services, are the key points of the research at the Forest Research Centre (CEF)  of the School of Agriculture (ISA), University of Lisbon. 

About 150 researchers look for answers on issues that concern us all such as droughts, fires and sustainable management of resources.

Pioneering study in Portugal: 
Dendrochronology as dating method
of violins and cellos

Partnership CEF / National Music Museum

The Forest Research Centre participates in the current exhibition "Violinos de Construção Portuguesa" (Made in Portugal Violins) at the National Music Museum (Lisbon) where a pioneering study in Portugal is shown, using dendrochronology as dating method of violins and cellos.

The dating of the wood of a musical instrument allows to know when it could have been built and, if the manufacturer is known, it may allocate the instrument to his artistic stage (initial/full/final). One case-study is shown: a cello attributed to J. P. Hausz (inventory nr. MM44), with an inner label stating 1750 as the construction year. We found that the two wood (from Picea spp.) parts of the cello top were from the same tree, and the year 1736 was the date after which the wood could have been used (terminus post quem). This is consistent with the date mentioned on the label.
Datação de Violinos e Violoncelos de Manufactura Portuguesa: Uma Abordagem Dendrocronológica
Click the image above to watch the video about dendrochronology
as dating method of violins and cellos

Multifunctional biomass crops
for dry regions

The biomass potential as source of energy and biofuels has led research into the search of high productivity plants and dedicated crop production systems. Biomass production is a challenge in some regions namely those under water scarcity.

Drought periods associated to high temperatures, such as in the Mediterranean area, require selection of well adapted plants.

Cynara cardunculus L. is such a crop. This thistle, or cardoon, has been under scrutiny in CEF as a potential biomass crop for southern regions with hot and dry summers. The different potential uses, i.e. energy, pellets, biodiesel, paper and pulp, pharmacologic active compounds, green fodder, rennet for cheese-making make Cynara an interesting plant for biorefineries.

CEF research started in 1995 with the chemical investigation of wild Cynara plants, and was followed by various studies on plants domesticated by Prof. Jesus Fernandez (Polytechnic University of Madrid).
In 2004, CEF launched an experimental large scale trial of Cynara for energy purposes. A total of 150 ha was cultivated with Cynara in central and southern Portugal, using common agricultural practices and machinery. The results confirmed that the crop is suitable for biomass production in Mediterranean regions and cultivation may be directed to whole plant harvest or field fractionation for seed recovery.
Cynara allows multiple uses. Stalks may be used for energy production through combustion, pyrolysis or gasification or may be also used for production of paper pulps. The oil from the seeds may be processed into biodiesel. CEF has investigated all these different aspects.
See here the list of our publications on Cynara cardunculus.

Seminar "Cork oak forests and corks"

More than 130 people participated in the Cork oak forests and cork" Seminar that took place at the School of Agriculture (ISA), University of Lisbon, on September, 25th. It was organized by the Forest Research Centre (CEF) being part of a series of events to promote knowledge transfer to the stakeholders.
This was the second seminar dedicated to cork. The first edition took place in 2014 and the feedback was so good that Forest Research Centre decided to organize another one to give answer to the several requests of a second edition.

The 2015 edition had two main subjects “SOIL AND WATER MANAGEMENT” and “CORK AND DEBARKING”. The speakers presented several topics from hydric regulation and root system, to the impact of debarking, debarking intensity or the impact of management practices on soil quality, among others.

Seminar “Eucalypt:
Production and Environment"

The Seminar “Eucalypt: production and environment held at the School of Agriculture (ISA), University of Lisbon, Portugal, on  October 23rd, was a successful event organized by the Forest Research Centre (CEF). CEF is a research unit with long standing and pioneer research on eucalypt plantation forestry and wood quality.

The seminar was framed within the series ‘’From Research to Application’’, targeted to promote knowledge transfer from researchers to stakeholders. This is considered a priority by the Portuguese stakeholders associations, since it allows participants to stay up-to-date on recent research results and how these can contribute for their management and production activities. 

CEF investigators on the Odissey Channel

A documentary about the pine processionary moth was exhibited in the Odyssey Channel last October/November. The larvae of this species cause human health concern due to its urticating hairs.

Part of the film was done in Portugal, concerning the work done by the team of Manuela Branco (CEF)

The film involved the participation of several European scientists doing research on this species. Part of the film was done in Portugal, concerning the work done by the team of Manuela Branco (CEF). The Portuguese team studies a unique case of allochronic speciation occurring in a new population, observed for the very first time locally in  Leiria forest during an outbreak in 1997. This population is genetically differentiated from the sympatric typical one and characterized by specific phenotypic traits. The early larval stages show a better resistance to high temperatures, consistent with the summer development of larvae. The population is currently expanding along the coast displaying invasive characteristics.

150 Years of Forest Studies in Portugal:
Acknowledging the Past, Planning the Future 

Graduate studies in forestry were initiated in Portugal at the Instituto Geral de Agricultura de Lisboa (now Instituto Superior de Agronomia, ISA, University of Lisbon), following a Royal Decree of January 1865.

The 150 years anniversary was celebrated at the School of Agriculture, University of Lisbon (ISA) last December 3, 2015 with a debate under the title “Acknowledging the Past, Planning the Future”, organized by the Graduation and Master Degree Committees and the Portuguese Association of Forestry Students (APEF), and also supported by the Forest Research Centre (CEF) and the Portuguese Society of Forest Sciences. More than 60 participants discussed during an afternoon the future challenges of Forestry regarding education, scientific research, and economic and social utility in a globalized, changing World.
Entrevista ao Vice-Reitor da Universidade de Lisboa sobre o Ensino Superior Florestal
Click the image above to watch the interview of the
Vice-rector of the University of Lisbon before the debate

Cork carbon footprint:
from trees to products

The use of cork products is important for the Portuguese economy and may help to mitigate the increase of atmospheric greenhouse gas.

The results of the study coordinated by Aveiro University with the collaboration of ForEco group from the Forest Research Centre (CEF)  of the School of Agriculture (ISA), University of Lisbon, entitled “Cork carbon footprint: from trees to products” shows that for each tonne of cork produced, well managed montados can sequester more than 73 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. This is equivalent to 450 thousand kilometers of CO2 emitted by a car. The carbon accumulated in cork manufactured products either during their life span or in landfill have accumulated, during the last 15 years in Portugal, between 150 to 250 thousand tonnes of CO2. This research project provided tools that enable supporting conscious decision-making for reducing the cork carbon footprint and reinforcing the role of the cork sector in mitigating climate change.

2015 CEF Christmas charity appeal

Throughout December 2015 CEF took part in a Christmas charity appeal to provide food, clothing, toiletries, cleaning products, school sets and gifts to 11 families supported by Ludoteca da Galiza, in Cascais ( The campaign proved to be a success with CEF acting as the drop off point for donations made by members of the CEF and from the ISA community. The first delivery of goods took place on December 17 allowing Ludoteca to distribute the items among the families on the midnight supper organized on December 23. Due to the large amount of goods collected in the last week of December, CEF carried out a second delivery in early January. The surplus items were directed to Associação Cultursol, based in the Adroana neighbourwood, Cascais ( CEF thanks the generosity and collaboration of everyone involved in the 2015 Christmas charity appeal.

ForChange International Networking

Over the past 4 months, ForChange research line has hosted several researchers coming from different countries from professors on sabbatical leave to PhD Students.

A total of 4 researchers from different Brazilian Universities working on tropical species modelling have search among this research Line the expertise and guidance to move their research forward. ForChange has also been visited by two American professors enriching the MedFor ERASMUS MUNDUS programme.

Apart from long stay visitors ForChange often hosts projects’ and Cost Action meetings gathering researchers from across Europe and America.

Last February, the Kick-off Meeting of SuFoRUn project was held at CEF with the presence of highly qualified representatives from research institutions from Spain, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Costa Rica, Chile, Brazil and USA. This 4 years project will serve to exchange and generate knowledge on multipurpose forests, addressing risk and uncertainty while strengthening the active networking between the two continents.

Laboratory of forest insect pests

In the Laboratory of forest insect pests there are three ongoing PhD projects. The processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) is a Mediterranean phytophagous insect in which a population with a shifted phenology was discovered in Leiria region. Susana Rocha is studying the mechanisms that caused this divergence and also the factors that could explain its success.

PhD candidate Ana Farinha is working with the western conifer seed bug (Leptoglossus occidentalis), a serious pest of conifer seeds. Native from North America, it has entered Portugal in 2010. Its impact on stone pine (Pinus pinea) is a major concern in Portugal due to its economic and social value.

André Garcia is focusing his PhD project on biological strategies against some of the most important eucalyptus pests namely the eucalyptus snout beetle (Gonipterus platensis) and the redgum lerp psyllid  (Glycaspis brimblecombei)

Wood planks also tell stories 

The dendrochronological study
of the panel Our Lady of Mercy,
by Gregório Lopes

The Forest Research Centre participated in a conference about the panel  "Our Lady of Mercy", by Gregório Lopes  which was held in Sesimbra (Núcleo Museológico da Capela do Espírito Santo dos Mareantes) in January, with an oral communication entitled “Wood planks also tell stories: the dendrochronological study of the panel Our Lady of Mercy, by Gregório Lopes" We found that Gregório Lopes (royal painter of D. Manuel I) and his workshop used oak planks imported from northern Europe, and 1532 was the terminus post quem year of the wood support of this painting. The wood dating fits this painting into the full artistic activity period of the painter (who died in 1550).

CEF 40-year anniversary

In 2016, CEF celebrates 40 years as a structured research unit on forests and forest products.

This is an important milestone. In fact, only few university research units have worked so long in a continuous and systematic way on the study of a thematic area and with results' dissemination in the national and international communities.

CEF is proud to have nested three generations of researchers who brought new knowledge on forests and related ecosystems, on forests products and services.

The anniversary will be celebrated along the year, starting this March. Different events will take place: seminars, advanced courses and book releases and also cultural events and exhibitions. The closure will be a Conference “Research, Forests and Society”, to be held in November.

On the 30th March, the seminar on “Stone pine and nuts” will take place within our cycle “From Research to Application”.

Check the announcements!


Already scheduled
Seminar "Stone Pine and Nuts" 

ISA - Sala de Atos
The next session of the cycle "From Research to Application" organized by CEF will take place on March 30th. The focus will be the stone pine (Pinus pinea). The recent research results developed by the team will be presented regarding species and ecosystems ecology, management and pests as well as cone and nut production. The session will have the collaboration of Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária (INIAV). CEF invites all stakeholders to participate in this session.
More information on CEF's Website

9h30 - 17h30


Ioannis Bistinas


PhD: Forestry and Natural Resources

Thesis:  Global Interactions between fire and vegetation, human activities and climate
Date: 11/02/2016
Supervisor: Prof. José Miguel Cardoso Pereira
Co-supervisor: Dr. Pierre Friedlingstein
Chemical composition, antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-quorum sensing activities of Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata essential oils

Effects of forest management on physical habitats and fish assemblages in Iberian eucalypt streams

Radial and axial variation of heartwood properties and extractives in mature trees of Eucalyptus globulus
The bark of Eucalyptus sideroxylon as a source of phenolic extracts with anti-oxidant properties

The effect of eucalypt tree overaging on pulping and paper properties

Variation of wood and bark density and production in coppiced Eucalyptus globulus trees in a second rotation

Variation of wood pulping and bleached pulp properties along the stem in mature Eucalyptus globulus trees
Estimation of stand crown cover using a generalized crown diameter model: application for the analysis of Portuguese cork oak stands stocking evolution

Modelling spectral reflectance of open cork oak woodland: a simulation analysis of the effects of vegetation structure and background
Cork oak pests: a review of insect damage and management
Conservation zones promote oak regeneration and shrub diversity in certified Mediterranean oak woodlands

Cork structural discontinuities studied with X-ray microtomography
Influence of cork defects in the oxygen ingress through wine stoppers: insights with X-ray tomography

The rationale behind cork properties: a review of structure and chemistry
Development time plasticity of the pine processionary moth (Thaumetopoea pityocampa) populations under laboratory conditions

Experimental evidence for heritable reproductive time in two allochronic populations of pine processionary moth
Defoliators in native insect systems of the Mediterranean Basin

Foliage feeding invasive insects: Defoliators and gall makers

Invasive sap-sucker insects in the Mediterranean Basin
Fibre morphological characteristics of kraft pulps of Acacia melanoxylon estimated by NIR-PLS-R models

Using apparent density of paper from hardwood kraft pulps to predict sheet properties, based on unsupervised classification and multivariable regression techniques
Assessment on the bifidogenic effect of substituted xylo-oligosaccharides obtained from corn straw

Characterization of the structure, dynamics, and productivity of mixed-species stands: Review and perspectives

Fractionation of hemicelluloses and lignin from rice straw by combining autohydrolysis and optimised mild organosolv delignification

Isolation and structural characterization of lignin from cardoon (Cynara cardunculus L.) stalks

Long-term elevated air [CO2] strengthens photosynthetic functioning and mitigates the impact of supra-optimal temperatures in tropical Coffea arabica and C. canephora species

Modeling and optimization of laboratory-scale conditioning of Jatropha curcas L. seeds for oil expression

Physical and mechanical properties of heat treated wood from Aspidosperma populifolium, Dipteryx odorata and Mimosa scabrella

Prediction of five softwood paper properties from its density using support vector machine regression techniques

Selective fractioning of Pseudotsuga menziesii bark and chemical characterization in view of an integrated valorization

Riparian vegetation recovery and conservation downstream of dams through the implementation of a riparian maintenance flow regime

Usefulness and perceived usefulness of decision support systems (DSSs) in participatory forest planning: the final users’ point of view
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Photos: Alexandra Correia, Ana Farinha, Andreas Burkart, André Garcia, António José Soares, CMS-UFCI, Gonçalo Fonseca, Helena Pereira, Joana Amaral Paulo, Joana Ferreira, João Campos, João Oliveira, Jorge Gominho, Luis Fonseca, Maria Caldeira, Odissey Channel, Sara Santos, Susana Rocha, Teresa Quilhó
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