Biweekly researcher forum, which offer an opportunity for researchers in ecology to present and discuss their work

CREAF runs an annual programme of seminars that showcase the global research work in the field of ecological science both within and beyond our centre. Each seminar normally lasts 30-40 minutes with plenty of time afterwards for questions and discussion. Seminars are usually on Wednesday at 3 pm.

Our free seminar programme is open to everyone.  For more information, please email CREAF Talks coordinator


Ongoing Seminars


October 9th, 2019 - 

Karen Hardy 

"Landscape and resource use by humans before agriculture"


Recovering evidence for use of plants in the Palaeolithic is challenging, both because of the very long time period (around 1.2 million years in Europe) and the small amount of evidence that survives.  Despite this, it is clear that plants were used as food, medicine and raw materials, since earliest times.  In this presentation, Karen will outline how evidence for plant use is reconstructed and will discuss the way a better understanding of use of plants by Palaeolithic hominins can inform on their lives and their use of the landscape, while also feeding into a better understanding of modern humans and ourselves, today. 


Karen is an ICREA research professor in the Department of Prehistory, Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), since 2008.  Between 2005-2008 she had a Marie Curie Fellowship based at the University of Sydney (Austalia) and University of York (UK). Before that, while her 5 children were small, she ran field projects investigating the earliest human populations in her native Scotland.  Today, much of her work is focused on finding the evidence and reconstructing the use of plants in the Palaeolithic.


October 23th, 2019 - 

Carles Ibàñez Martí

"The role of deforestation and climate on sediment delivery to the coast: a global analysis"


A new global database of 86 deltas and river basins was analyzed to investigate the relative importance of deforestation and land use changes versus natural forcings in determining long-term total delta size. Results show that mean river flow and shelf slope were the most important variables, whereas population density and sediment load had a much lower importance. Deforestation and other variables related to land-use generally had a very small effect, but were more influential in a subset comprising Mediterranean and Black Sea deltas. As most deltas have developed over thousands of years, the much shorter-lived anthropogenic signals from deforestation and other landscape perturbations have had only secondary impact on the total area of deltas. Also, delta progradation is strongly influenced on sand deposition, whereas anthropogenic impacts on sediment load have more often impacted mostly the finer sediment being deposited offshore (prodelta deposits) or in the deltaic plain. These data disproves the hypothesis that delta size and growth is strongly influenced by human forcings, particularly for larger deltas, since Holocene delta building is mainly determined by natural forces. However, humans are influencing the geomorphology of deltas, particularly over the last century when the Anthropocene nature of deltas has become manifest. A more precise terminology is proposed to clarify concepts such as “human-made”, “human-engineered” or “human-influenced” deltas.


Dr. Carles Ibáñez is Senior Researcher at the Department of Marine & Continental Waters of IRTA and former Head of the Department of Aquatic Ecosystems in the period 2005-2017. PhD in Biology from the University of Barcelona and post-doc in the Laboratory of Fluvial System Ecology of CNRS (France). He has 30 years of research experience in the field of aquatic, coastal and wetland ecology, sustainable management of water resources and environmental management, with more than 80 papers published in peer-reviewed international journals. He has been member of the Advisory Council of Sustainable Use of Water of the Government of Catalonia, and is currently member of the Advisory Council for Sustainable Development of the same government. He is also member of the Group of Experts on Climate Change of Catalonia, as well as of the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases. Expert reviewer of the Fifth IPCC Report on Climate Change 2013: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability (Working Group II). Associated Editor of the Journal Estuaries & Coasts.


October 30th, 2019 - 

Jeroen van der Bergh

"A transition to global carbon pricing"


Unilateral climate policies have been unable to achieve intended emissions reductions. We argue that international harmonization of climate policy is the only way forward, and that global carbon pricing is the best available instrument to manage this. A foundation has already been laid, as current carbon pricing initiatives cover about 20% of global CO2 emissions. Since it limits free-riding by countries, negotiating global carbon pricing is behaviourally easier than negotiating other instruments, such as targets or standards. To overcome political resistance, we propose a dynamic strategy consisting of two parallel tracks. The first entails assembly of a carbon-pricing coalition that expands over time and exerts moral and economic pressure on non-members to join. The second track involves refocusing UNFCCC negotiations on carbon pricing, resulting initially in heterogeneous prices based on countries’ income levels, which then gradually converge. The two tracks are designed to reinforce one another, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome. The proposal results in a transition trajectory consisting of two interactive tracks and five phases. Political feasibility would enhance if a broad group of scientists supported such a transition to global carbon pricing.


Jeroen van den Bergh is ICREA Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (2007–present), and full Professor of Environmental & Resource Economics at VU University Amsterdam (1997–present). His research is on the interface of environmental economics, energy-climate studies and innovation research. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions. He received the Royal/Shell Prize 2002 for Sustainability Research, IEC’s Sant Jordi Environmental Prize 2011 and an ERC Advanced Grant. His latest book is Human Evolution Beyond Biology and Culture: Evolutionary Social, Environmental and Policy Sciences (Cambridge University Press, October 2018).


November 6th, 2019 - 

Rafael Navarro-Cerrillo

"Silviculture of planted Pinus forests under climatic risk"


One of the main problems faced by forest plantations in southern Europe, and in other areas of the Mediterranean Basin, is the mortality processes related to climate change, and in particular to severe drought. Previous research has provided insights into the potential response of growth and water use efficiency to thinning in Mediterranean forests, but little is known about the potential benefits of silviculture for Pinus plantations under severe drought stress. In this talk, I will give an overview of the current and adaptive forest management and silvicultural practices implemented in Pinus planted forests and then contribute to this field with a novel silvicultural approach as a flexible and multi-scale way to manage forests under climatic risk. This research is a close cooperation between foresters, ecologists, and remote sensing experts to understand the growth and functional responses of high-density planted pine forests to thinning in drought-prone areas. Our findings suggest that water shortage, linked to recurrent droughts, together with high tree competition, negatively affected tree growth, which explains the dieback of some of these pine plantations. We evidence the vulnerability of densely planted Mediterranean pines to the forecasted warmer and drier conditions. Therefore, this talk is a new contribution that shows the need for forest managers and ecologists to take urgent measures that will help drought-sensitive Mediterranean pine plantations adapt to the risks associated with climate warming. I hope to provide a promising and more efficient forest management and silvicultural framework for the adaptation of these drought-sensitive Mediterranean mountain pine forests to the potential risks of climate change.


Rafael M Navarro is full professor at the Department of Forest Engineering at University of Córdoba (Spain). As such, his research focuses on the ecological and silvicultural factors that influence Mediterranean forest ecosystem dynamics in a climatic change context. Dr Navarro holds the research unit of Silvicultural, Dendrochronology and applied Forest Ecology Lab of the Faculty of Forestry Engineering. His current research goal is the integration of dendrochronological approaches, long-term data collections, and remote sensing to assess the differential response of managed and unmanaged Pinus planted forest systems to variations in climate, forest health, and disturbance conditions. Two main projects support this research: “LIFE FOREST CO2, Assessment of forest-carbon sinks and promotion of compensation systems as tools for climate change mitigation-LIFE14 CCM/ES/001271” (Life Projects-European Community) and ESPECTRAMED (CGL2017-86161-R) which evaluate the impacts and efficacy of operational scale forest management strategies for reducing climate change and forest health effects on forests in southeastern Europe. Additionally, Dr Navarro has long-standing interest in forest management in dry tropical forests, originating in his PhD field research at Bolivia, and most recently in other research projects in miomboforests in Angola and Mozambique. Finally, Dr Navarro is the cofounder and director of the Master in Geomatics, Remote Sensing and Ecological models applied to forest management (GEOFOREST) from its inception in 2014.


Past seminars


2017 CREAFTalks

2018 CREAFTalks

2019 CREAFTalks