Investment products labelled as sustainable are on the rise globally. Yet less than 3% of all green bonds have a biodiversity and sustainable land use…
Resilience Blog Posts
A great asset of an European-wide network, such as the Integrate Network, is to regularly meet and exchange with many interesting colleagues from across Europe on a wide range of highly relevant forest-related topics and issues! Especially rewarding is to visit Integrate Network members in their home countries and get in-depth insight to forests, their management, and related challenges and opportunities. Recently, the current chair of the Integrate Network, Spain, invited the Member Countries and interested participants to gather for the 8th Annual Integrate Meeting in Madrid. In the tradition of meeting in fall, between October 19-21 around 40 participants discussed relevant developments of the Integrate Network and voted on important next steps; shared experiences on forest management approaches in the Mediterranean and went on an excursion to the Valsaín forests where they learned on how the tool of demonstration sites is being applied in education and training for main management challenges.
Thanks to global trade, Western societies are not only wealthy but have also access to diverse products. From diapers for our babies or diesel for our cars to the dressing for our salad – the movement of goods in a globalized world allows us to have products for consumption that would otherwise not be available. These can often be everyday products and items taken for granted, so that we don’t necessarily even think of their origins. For example, a typical home would have wooden furniture like tables or shelves. They, or parts of them, could come from wood harvested in Central Africa. Or a common meal could consist of pork meat, where the pork was fed with soymeal processed from soybeans grown in Brazil. Unfortunately, the farming or harvesting of many goods – especially those of biomass like wood or soy – can have negative impacts on the biodiversity of ecosystems, including our forests. As such, the wooden furniture we buy or the pork we eat could be associated with biodiversity loss. In other words, trade becomes the mechanism that links our consumption habits to environmental damage abroad. But, how could we benefit from trade and conserve biodiversity at the same time?
They help farmers to pick asparagus and support foresters with salvage-cutting bark-beetle damaged trees: The EU – and especially countries like Spain, Poland and Germany – is heavily dependent on so called “seasonal migrants”, either from other EU Member States or third world countries. Bringing the issue closer to home, Germany receives around 300,000 workers per year for agricultural, horticultural and forestry work, many of them from Central and Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Romania. Very often, they remain invisible. We asked ourselves, how many of these workers can we specifically find in the forest sector? What roles do they play and how can these be distinguished from the agricultural sector? How are the working conditions? And what can we do to make this issue more visible?
Forests can act as carbon sinks or emitters, as made clear by this summer’s catastrophic forest fires that ravaged southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula. The devastating events following August’s record heatwave resulted in Europe’s highest wildfire emissions in 15 years. Only in the region of Valencia, Spain, the fires released more than 1 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to the annual emissions of all private cars in the three capital cities of the province: Castellón, Valencia and Alicante.
Although climate change played a major role in the catastrophe, the fires were aggravated by rural exodus, which led to the abandonment of forest management in the area and to the accumulation of flammable vegetation, explains José Vicente Oliver, professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV).
In cooperation with EFI, Oliver and his team are looking for ways to prepare the EU’s forests for future climate scenarios and realise their full carbon absorption potential by mainstreaming Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) into more conventional management practices. In the new Horizon Europe project INFORMA, EFI, UPV and other partners are tackling crucial questions around SFM that remain partially unanswered by science, unaddressed by policies and unexplored by most carbon offsetting schemes. How can we manage existing forests in different European biogeographic regions for enhanced carbon capture while ensuring the provision of other ecosystem services such as biodiversity conservation and wood production? Where and how should we grow new forests, and which species should be used? How can we adapt and increase forests’ resilience to more frequent disturbances such as drought, fires, windstorms and pests?
Reflections on inter-generational interactions in science and the potential of young scientists
Imagine you are sitting in a room full of people for three days. Listening to a lot of presentations which do not necessarily light up your interests. You make the effort to resist the temptation of checking your mailbox. Feeling guilty for seeing work accumulating, knowing you will have to address part of it at night, alone in your hotel room. Eventually, you will be presenting your work and – if you are lucky – have an awesome 20 minutes of lit discussion and feedback. But after that, you will rely on coffee again to fight back the gravity attacking your eyelids, especially in the post-lunch sessions. You will be looking forward for the drinks at the end of the day to socialize a bit and get to know people.
In my short, young scientist’s experience, that’s how I’ve portraited – and experienced – scientific conferences.
A (much needed) alternative
Well, the latest conference I attended was absolutely nothing of the above.
Written by Isabeau Ottolini
Isabeau Ottolini is an Early-Stage Researcher within the European ITN project PyroLife, and visiting scholar at EFI Bonn. She researches community-based wildfire communication, specifically through a case study in Spain with the local association Pego Viu.
Most communication around wildfires happens in the prevention and preparedness phase. That is, before a potential wildfire happens with the aim to reduce wildfire risk. However, sometimes the need emerges to communicate during a wildfire, and that’s a whole different game.
In this blogpost, I share the story of the Vall d’Ebo (Spain) wildfire that happened this August, and what the local association Pego Viu and I learnt from communicating during this extreme wildfire.
Employment in the pan-European forest sector is decreasing already for some time and the forest sector workforce is aging rapidly. A recent report by FOREST EUROPE and the Thünen-Institute of Forestry provides the latest facts and figures about employment in the pan-European forest sector as well as information about green forest jobs in general and the trends, challenges, and opportunities that green jobs present and recommendations on how to reverse these trends.
The last training of the Pyrolife project for its 15 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) took place on the 19th-30th of September in the Netherlands. Pyrolife is an Innovative Training Network funded under the Marie Curie Programme (MSCA-ITN) which supports the PhD training and research of 15 candidates working on wildfire-related issues across different European countries, covering a wide array of disciplines from engineering to human geography and sociology.
The whole Pyrolife training program is designed and anchored upon the recognition of the urgent need for change in the way our (highly heterogeneous) societies manage, govern and relate to wildfires across the globe. The project takes up the imperative of building landscape resilience through a better understanding of fire drivers, risk, and impacts, as well as creative approaches to risk reduction that are sustainable in the long term.