About IUFRO Unit 4.04.07: Risk Analysis

"Risk" is defined as the expected probability of an event occurring multiplied by the consequences of the event given its occurrence. "Risk analysis" is broadly defined to include the scientific estimation of risk and its management. Within the context of the forest resource, risk analysis can be applied to issues of invasive pests (insects and pathogens), natural disturbances, forest management planning, biodiversity conservation, and others. As a framework, risk analysis is well suited to addressing demands for the maximization of multiple, and often conflicting, forest values while simultaneously incorporating uncertainty in the estimation of risk.

Thus, risk analysis is a methodology/framework that can be applied to a diverse collection of forest resource issues of an ecological, economic and social nature. Techniques within the risk analysis framework that incorporate empirical and theoretical research results include simulation modelling, development of knowledge-based systems, neural networks, and more. The application of risk analysis frameworks will be of interest to a multi-disciplinary group of forest researchers and policy makers.

The Risk Analysis unit of IUFRO will bring together individuals with diverse research interests in forestry in order to share techniques of risk analysis. As an IUFRO unit that will focus less on a specific biological issue, and more on a widely applicable methodology, it will foster unique cross-disciplinary co-operation as it contributes to the IUFRO mission of “[disseminating] knowledge to stakeholders and decision makers and [contributing] to forest policy and on-the-ground forest management”. Unit 4.04.07 will endeavor to hold regular meetings at a 1–2 year interval, and will partner with other IUFRO units to hold joint meetings at which the multi-disciplinary aspect of risk analysis can be highlighted.

Dr. David Gray
Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service
Fredericton, New Brunswick

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