Prestigious prize for forestry researchers

Three forestry researchers who worked with the CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, have been awarded the prestigious Marcus Wallenberg Prize today by Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf XVI in Stockholm.

The three winners of the 2020 prize, Professor Joseph Landsberg, Professor Richard Waring and Professor Nicholas Coops either worked for CSIRO or were visiting researchers to the organisation.

The Marcus Wallenberg Prize recognises, encourages and stimulates scientific achievements which contribute significantly to broadening knowledge and to technical development within the fields of importance to forestry and forest industries.

The winners share the 2020 Marcus Wallenberg Prize ($310,000) for a model to predict forest growth in a changing climate. Satellite imagery offers the possibility to scale up the model to show how different environmental conditions affect the world’s forests.

Professor Landsberg was Chief of the Division of Forest Research at the CSIRO from 1981 to 1988. He has been Adjunct Professor at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, and at the University of Queensland. He was a visiting professor at NASA between 1993 and 1994, and at the University of Helsinki, Finland, in 1998.

Professor Coops worked at CSIRO until 2003 and worked mainly on remote sensing. He is now Professor at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, where he holds a Canada Research Chair in remote sensing.

Professor Waring worked at Oregon State University and has been a visiting researcher at many universities and science organisations, including CSIRO. He is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Forest Science at Oregon State University.

In the 1990s, Professors Landsberg and Professor Waring developed a model for forest growth that was based on simple plant physiological principles such as access to light, water, and nutrients.

Professor Coops, then working in Australia, added advanced satellite imagery analysis to the model.

The result is a powerful tool for predicting growth and assessing the risks to the world’s forests posed by climate change.

Professor Landsberg and Professor Waring became pioneers when they presented their Physiological Principles Predicting Growth, 3PG model, in 1997 to predict forest growth under changing environmental conditions.

The model is also able to calculate how actions, such as thinning and fertilisation, affect forest growth and development.

More details and information about the prize and winners are available at the Marcus Wallenberg Prize website.

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