ESRs presentations

“Once you have tasted the forest, you will forever walk through the city with your heart set on the jungle, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

ESR01 – Integrating LIDAR information into operational mixed forests growth and yield models

Frederico Simôes

Forest Engineer graduated from the Federal University of Mato Grosso, and Technician in Surveying graduated from the Federal Institute of Mato Grosso. Since my bachelor’s, I have been involved in topography and remote sensing projects, working with UAVs, RTK, and digital image processing. This set of experiences prepared me to carry out large projects for government entities and companies in the timber sector in Brazil. After 10 years of working on several projects in the Amazon, Savanna, and Wetlands biomes, I decided to improve my skills and learn a new point of view.

The Skill-For-Action proposal is far beyond what is expected from a PhD program, the integration with different researchers and doctoral students, the use of state-of-the-art equipment, with common goals. My goals for Skill-for-Action are to make my contribution to the development of techniques and management of natural environments in a more sustainable way.

“Don’t take rest after your first victory because if you fail in second, more lips are waiting to say that your first victory was just luck.”

ESR02 – Drought resistance and growth stability of trees and stand in dependence of species identity, stand density, and structure

Shamin Ahmed

I am from Bangladesh and pursued my MSc in Sustainable Forest and Nature Management (SUFONAMA) under Erasmus Mundus’ Joint Master’s Program. I have completed my first master’s degree from Bangor University (UK) and second master’s including a thesis from the George-August Universität Göttingen (Germany). Meanwhile, I completed my BSc (Hons.) in Forestry from Khulna University, Bangladesh.
Beside holding position as an ESR I am doing research to understand how below ground carbon pools respond to photosynthetic material disappearances as a function of climate change.
Every single person has an infectious desire to contribute greater than themselves and I’d like to improve my research skill on natural resource management capacity by pursuing a PhD under one of the the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action European Training Network. Incredible research and training opportunities provided by Skill-For.Action to ESRs convinced me to apply for it.

“Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.”

ESR03 – Growth resistance and resilience of tree species to drought stress in even- versus uneven-aged forest

Bohdan Kolisnyk

Forest – is the only place where I am in my element. I am in my early twenties, and I am from a family of foresters. Thereby, a long time before I did the first steps, I experienced an inimitable charm of the forest. We perceive everything differently in childhood: gusts of wind – like the breath of oaks; old trees` shadows – mysterious creatures. Since then, the forest has been carved in my memory as one large, living organism. It shaped my mindset and my future life. I enrolled to the Ukrainian National Forestry University (UNFU), B.Sc. Forestry. Professional teachers provided the necessary foundation. During my bachelor I deep into my first research field – forest breeding and genetics. I researched the condition of the Scots pine forest seed base in one of the state forestry enterprises and wrote my thesis on this topic. Although I received an A+ grade, I wasn`t satisfied. Most of the information was from the previous millennium, extremely outdated. I realized that without English skills, I don`t have access to up-to-date knowledge. So, after a few months of intensive learning, I reached the level where I could absorb information. It was time to act. As a master of forestry student, I applied for the ERASMUS+ program at the Eberswalde University for Sustainable Development (HNEE). It was one of the best decisions

During my studies there, I frequently thought of my future career.That was the main reason behind my decision to consider a Ph.D. position. You can`t change the world without a solid background, right? And now, I am enjoying the great opportunity to study and work in a team of professionals at the Warsaw University of Life Sciences.

“Quidquid agis, prudenter agas, et respice finem.”

ESR04 – Species-specific functional response to drought stress and the relevance for intra- and interspecific interaction

Przemyslaw Jankowski

I am in the way of forest – man for 11 years. I’ve received first finishing touches in Vocational Technical High School of Forestry in Lesko. My scientific background was formed in Warsaw University of Life Sciences, during forestry studies. I’ve decided to expand my knowledge in the Department of Silviculture, where I wrote Bachelor and Master thesis so. During these days my fields of scientific interest got concretized.

I applied for Skill – For – Action project because I’ve felt insatiable for natural science knowledge. I’ve been working as a forest ranger for two years. It was a great work and improved in me a lot of useful traits such as endurance in fieldwork, responsibility, ability of planning, observation of nature. But it was not enough for me. I want to become a true naturalist, who will be able to use in depth understanding of natural environment in practice to manage it, where is needed. Parting from this point, I would like to enlarge my knowledge about plant ecology, physiology, statistics.

My interests, other than science – related? I develop myself in martial arts training, Jeet Kune Do and Judo especially. I love hiking, most of all in mountainous landscapes; I would to join it with survival skills. While at home, I enjoy reading historical books. My way of perceiving the world, the life itself, is formed by Ignatian Spirituality.

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose”

ESR05 – Relationship between stand density, nutrition, productivity and water use efficiency in pure pine stand

Otto Pienaar

One year ago, I would have never imagined that I will be furthering my research interests with the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action European Training Network. The programme provides me with the opportunity to pursue my passion and purpose. 

I am passionate about forestry and since my childhood I have always envisaged a career working in nature, and with trees. This has led me to completing MPhil Environmental Management and MSc Forest Science degrees at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa. I have more than 10 years working experience in the industry across government and the private sector both in the indigenous, commercial forestry and secondary processing sectors. With the Skill-for.Action programme, I have the opportunity to pursue my interest and research in tree physiology and data analysis whilst collaborating with the extensive network of partner institutions across Europe and contributing to the forestry knowledge base. 

In my free time I enjoy catching up with friends, spend time in nature, going on tramps and reading.

“You fail only if you stop trying”

ESR06 – Effect of Nitrogen deposition on C sink potential of temperate forests

Daniel Minikaev

A lifetime explorer, I wish to keep on getting inspired and never stop learning. On the academic level, I got a BSc in Chemistry and MSc in Desert Agriculture from Ben-Gurion University in Israel. In my previous research I examined the effects of Nitrogen fertilization on the environmental impacts and crop performance within a date palm agroecosystem. It was a great opportunity to acquire knowledge and practical skills in agroecology, which led me to my current position at The Free University of Bolzano. Nowadays I am getting acquainted with the forest realm, where I am trying to understand the consequences of increasing atmospheric Nitrogen deposition levels on the growth of trees in some of the temperate forests of Italy.

What drew me in to the Skill-For.Action program was the potential of being exposed to versatile facets of ecology and scientific innovation. A unique opportunity to be involved in a diverse network of skilled professionals through a cooperation between different universities across Europe (and South Africa!). While at the same time getting the chance to experience and share each other’s personal cultures.

I am grateful to have been given this position, where I could hopefully make some positive contribution towards conservation of ecological systems, and be a part of a great team of individuals who are passionate about nature and the environment.

“To understand what life is, we first have to understand nature”

ESR07 – CO2 emission control in forest operations

Mihail Bacescu

Imagine a mountain village surrounded by high rocky peaks, green forests, grasslands full with wild flowers in summer and with all shades of brown, yellow and red leaves in autumn. Imagine a child playing outside all day with other kids or with his dog, collecting fruits from the trees, going into the woods to pick up mushrooms or just for a walk with his family, entering home and enjoying a mug of hot chocolate and some homemade confectionery after a long, funny snow day, amazing right? It´s not that the perfect childhood? I was lucky enough to enjoy all of those experiences and more, as a child, so being connected with nature become more than a hobby or a passion to me, it become a way of living. Wherefore is why I always wanted to become an environmental engineer.

With the ETN Skill-For.Action project I have the opportunity to participate in such a current initiative as this is, at the same time that I will develop myself as an environmental professional and also, I will have the chance to learn more and more about such a worrying topic for all of us. I will also be in touch with others professional that followed the same path as me on the past and with whom I share for sure this way of living, and with whose help I hope to make every step we take together count.

“I sharpened my skills and increased my ambition”

ESR08 – Soil wheel CO2 interaction

Filippo Guerra

If one year ago I should have bet on this Early-Stage Researcher position, I would have never believed on it.

I am a young forest engineer who graduated in 2017 at the University of Padova with a BSc in Forestry and environmental technologies; then in March 2020 at the University of Bolzano with a MSc in Environmental Management of Mountain Areas and since June until the end of November 2020 I have taken on a forestry internship at the Office of Forests and Natural Hazards in Roveredo (Swiss). During the 6 months I had the opportunity to get in touch with the working world of forest engineering The curiosity with which I faced this experience was surely the preponderant element that pushed me to apply for a research program. I gained the awareness that one of my goals in life is giving a little contribution to the scientific community and having the chance to do it in a context of such an international and dynamic project Skill-For.Action is an honor for me.

This specific ESR program it is not only directly related to the subject of my work and research so far, but it is also one of the best in its field, given its wide network as demonstrated by the many different Partner Beneficiaries, such as Forstliches Bildungszentrum (FBZ) in Arnsberg (Germany) where I am actually working and performing the majority of my doctoral research.

“It always seems impossible, until it is done.”

ESR09 – Intelligent combination of airborne data and terrestrial LiDAR for obtaining micro surface, tree and assortment data for an improved timber harvesting planning

Gunta Grübe

A significant part of my study and work experience has always been related to Earth science and remote sensing as these topics have captivated me since the beginning of my studies.

I have obtained BSc and MSc in Geography and natural science from the University of Latvia and studied in the Faculty of Civil Engineering of Riga Technical University with a focus on geomatics, geodesy, and cartography, as it is crucial to acknowledge a technical aspect of the industry.

So far, my professional background has been related to remote sensing and image processing. I’ve acquired expertise working as a Research Assistant at the Institute of Electronics and Computer Science (Riga, Latvia) in projects that have been focused on forest sciences such as forest stock and health estimation using forest inventory, LiDAR, and multispectral data.

I believe today’s rapid technological development of RS data could help contribute to more advanced land, including forest management measures and retrieve essential information for optimizing harvesting planning and the forest operation sector. And Skill-For-Action is an excellent opportunity to develop and improve in that field as well as provide a significant contribution to this challenge.

I believe, in the field of Technology, “If you’re satisfied, then you’re limited”

ESR10 – Forest machine simulation for resource efficient production

Abhay Bharadwaj

I have a Masters degree in Electronics from the Queen’s University Belfast, UK and I interned for an year at Analog Devices Inc., Ireland. My background branches into two domains: Embedded Software Development and Sensor technology owing to my Bachelors and Masters FYPs and internships during my Undergrad; Process Development and Micro Device Design and Development owing to my internship at Analog Devices. Automation and Robotics are the future of technology which is the main reason behind me choosing this project and particularly this domain. I believe I will gain expertise in the aforementioned fields leading to a Doctorate and at the same time my previous experience will be symbiotic to the completion of the project in hand. Hackathons, Technical seminars, TED Talks, Developing coding and technical skills are few of my many academic interests and during my free time I love to cook, I am a travel and sports enthusiast and I love to play basketball, table tennis. I like to play drums and I am also interested in learning the skill of photography. I would like to continue my research in the field of Robotics and Automation. I am really keen on Forest exploration and Mars exploration and the opportunity the above domains affords to support these research…. Ciao!!!

“It’s not always possible to do what we want to do, but it’s important to believe in something before you actually do it.”

ESR11 – Optimisation analysis for harvesting strategies (at the stand level)

Francesco Sforza

I spent three years at Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM) where I graduated in Forestry and Environmental Sciences. Following this, I attended the Forest Science – Forest and Land Management course at the Univeristà degli Studi di Padova (UNIPD). Here, I got an Erasmus scholarship to carry out my master thesis at Technische Universität München (TUM) in Munich, where I conducted my thesis studies for 6 months with a focus on forest yield and growth. It all started in my early years of high school, when I was introduced to the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth”, directed by Davis Guggenheim about former US Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming. From that moment on, I believed that the challenge of climate change would be at the center of my life. From that moment, I decided that my future work, whatever it might be, should be dedicated to transforming the concepts of sustainability and renewability into practical actions, useful for the sustainable and efficient development of our society. This ambition has never left me, and today it is my daily goal. Currently, I have the opportunity to work on optimizing logging operations, making them more efficient, not only from a production and/or logistical point of view, but also in terms of reducing emissions and increasing the carbon stock function. Combining my aspirations with my passion for the forest environment leaded me to forestry. Probably, it was the least wrong choice of my life. Let’s keep going!

“Safety first, then teamwork, that’s what I always say.

ESR12 – Opportunities and limitations of robust optimization in forest management on enterprise level

Logan Bingham

I have a BA from Bennington College (USA) and MSc degrees in forestry and natural resources management from the University of Lisbon (Portugal) and University of Padova (Italy). My work so far has explored land management and program design trade-offs in payments for ecosystem services schemes, especially auction mechanisms. Most recently, I was a research fellow in José G. Borges’ lab funded by the ERA-NET Cofund project NOBEL ( Navigating our current set of global crises means finding better ways to monitor and assess ecological infrastructure, make reasonable predictions about how our actions will affect ecosystems across time and space, link economic incentives to environmental benefits, and evaluate complex trade-offs under growing uncertainty. For me, Skill-For.Action is an opportunity to make a small contribution to this shared challenge by drawing on interdisciplinary connections in hopes of reducing some dimensions of uncertainty while also developing decision tools to account for it.

Who we are

A group of 10 academic partners and 12 non-academic partners working together for a contamination of “ideas” between the domains of forest growth and forest operating efficiency


Project coordinator: TESAF Department, Università degli Studi di Padova ITALY


EU – Horizon 2020

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie

Grant Agreement 936355