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Research Agenda



A research agenda is a collection of themes of inquiry that should shape the direction of future research and typically identifies those areas that require new knowledge in the medium to long term.

The FOREMA Research Agenda 2018-2020 seeks to help shaping the direction of research within the Research Unit Forest Resources and Management. It is an initiative intended to favor communication and exchange across FOREMA’s Research Groups in order to make effective use of people’s potential, infrastructure and data resources to promote better science: upfront, open and relevant to society. The Research Agenda should help to identity flagship projects, improve the unit’s publication record and help promoting career opportunities for young scientists.



The research agenda is implemented as an iterative process in line with the WSL and FOREMA strategic planning and involves tree main steps: 1) reviewing potential research themes, 2) setting priorities based on possible outputs and 3) defining objectives for projects, papers and other initiatives. The process was launched by the Heads of the FOREMA Research Unit and the Research Groups in spring 2017 and developed by a group of volunteers: they started inquiring, reviewing and synthesizing potential research themes. In 2018, a series of thematic workshops has been (and are being) carried out to define specific questions and action plans that will then be implemented in 2019.


Research themes

Six interconnected research themes emerged from the review step.


Placing the suggested themes and sub-themes in the form of research questions helps in identifying main avenues for our research, to put them in a broader scientific context, and to identify possible co-operation within (and outside) FOREMA.

Table 1: Research themes and related research questions that emerged from the inquiry. Please contact the listed person for any inquires.
ThemeGeneral research questionsContact
DisturbancesHow can we better understand disturbances and related effects on forest ecosystems?Golo Stadelmann
Tree and forest growthHow can we expand and deepen our knowledge of effects on tree and forest growth and vitality?Brigitte Rohner
Ecosystem servicesHow can forest management improve the provision of ecosystem services?Christian Temperli
RegenerationHow can we expand and deepen our knowledge of effects on forest regeneration?Peter Brang
DiversityHow can we better understand the processes related to diversity in forests?Raphael Wüest Karpati
Development of methods How can ongoing method developments improve our research? How can our research advance methods?Meinrad Abegg

Setting priorities and next steps

All of the above themes and questions are relevant to FOREMA. Rather than creating a (subjective) ranking for potential projects within each theme, priorities will be defined in relation to realistic outputs. These may include proposals and products for dissemination, education and application.

Table 2: Examples of possible outputs.
Cost actionsScientific publications (ISI, non-ISI)PhD thesis
Dedicated projects (also in consortia)Technical publications, factsheetsMaster thesis
Pilot studyData setTechnical solutions/courses
Web releasesSoftware products
Conferences/workshopsWeb applications

Thematic workshops will be held during the year 2018 to identify realistic output for each theme and to formulate concrete objectives and timelines. The workshops are “informal” and include all interested people (also from other research units). The results of the workshops will be subsequently reviewed in 2020.


Get involved!

Please contact the respective persons in Table 1 if you want to learn about ongoing thematic activities and workshops and if you want to participate in any of those. For general information on the process itself, please contact Marco Ferretti.