How can students develop skills such as argumentation and critical thinking? The Umeå University is investigating the topic using learning materials around forest use and forest protection as part of the MULTIPLIERS project
Author: Priscila Jordão
Are forests solutions or victims in the battle against climate change? Increasing forests’ carbon sinks while keeping them healthy and resilient can be a difficult…
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?
You are invited to take part in our new “Monthly Forest Restoration Talks”, hosted by the SUPERB project in partnership with IUFRO‘s Task Force ‘Transforming Forest Landscapes for Future Climates and Human Well-Being’.
Targeting researchers, practitioners, NGOs, policy makers and other interested stakeholders, the webinar series will investigate forest restoration questions from diverse scientific perspectives, with alternating focus on the global and European levels. This includes exploring practical forest restoration approaches, experiences and challenges worldwide.
Taking place on Wednesday, 9 November from 16:00-17:30 CET, the first webinar features forest restoration specialist John Stanturf as a speaker, discussing the topic “If nature is the solution, what is the problem? A perspective from forest landscape restoration”.
This 3rd of October is World Habitat Day! To celebrate the occasion, Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of Resilience Programme at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and coordinator of the SUPERB project, explained the importance of “prestoration” – the combination of restoration and climate adaptation – for resilient and functional forest habitats. She discussed how it differs from classical restoration approaches, highlighted its relevance to the new EU Nature Restoration Law and listed concrete examples of how prestoration is being applied within the SUPERB demonstration areas in Germany and in the Czech Republic.
Watch the video interview on YouTube or read it below!
Forest governance is a complex topic, and we are living in complex times. A quick analysis of the EU and global policy environment in 2022 results in an intricate puzzle of overlapping but also contradicting sectoral policies in the fields of agriculture, energy, climate and environment that are relevant to forests. National and municipal forest strategies and plans add another layer of intricacy to the equation. And that’s not to mention the many ecosystem service demands by society that often compete at the local level!
To unravel the complexity of the topic and work out different perceptions of governance challenges in forest restoration, researchers and practitioners gathered at the SUPERB Governance Innovation Lab, hosted by project partner Prospex Institute in Opatija, Croatia, between 27-29 June. There, participants exchanged innovative local and regional approaches to forest governance, discussed how these could apply to SUPERB’s large-scale demos, and created first synergies with partners outside the project consortium.
For those who missed the event, we from EFI have compiled a list of 9 take-home messages from the Governance Lab:
Funded by the European Commission to promote large-scale forest restoration in support of the EU Green Deal, the new Horizon 2020 project SUPERB, coordinated by EFI, has created quite a buzz on social media since its beginning in December 2021. With 36 consortium members, 90 associated partners, €20 million in EU funds and €90 million in in-kind contributions, SUPERB is likely to be the largest transnational forest restoration project globally.
Now, the enormous wealth of knowledge that will be generated by SUPERB’s restoration experts, as well as the latest updates on its multifold restoration activities, can be accessed online all in one place at forest-restoration.eu.
Are scientists and policymakers getting too comfortable when generating and applying forest-related data and knowledge? What conditions can take them out of their comfort zones to generate more interdisciplinary research and policies that are both legitimate and representative? The politics of knowledge around forests was a topic of heated debate at this year’s International Forest Policy Meeting (27-29 April 2022), with the session on “Science-Policy-Society interactions within Europe” ending with a provocative call for the production and use of so-called “uncomfortable knowledge”.
It is common practice to celebrate Earth Day by highlighting the vast array of habitats on Earth and the ecosystem services they provide – but…
Interview with Lisa Hafer, WaldHaus Freiburg, on the role of forest education
Forestry isn’t a topic usually taught in schools, and despite its relevance to climate change mitigation and adaptation, the dilemmas of a forester might sometimes seem too intricate and technical to explain to a general audience. In Germany, however, since Education for Sustainable Development started being officially incorporated into school curricula in 2016, teachers received an incentive to bring forest-related topics into the classroom and take students on excursions to the forest.
To enable deeper discussions on the role of forests in climate protection, the forest education centre Stiftung WaldHaus Freiburg, in Germany’s Black Forest, installed a “junior” marteloscope site in cooperation with the European Forest Institute and the Integrate Network near its building in the city of Freiburg, where teachers and students can now see real-life examples of the economic and ecological values of trees. Almost 60 trees from eight species were mapped on the site, and a tablet app allows the visualisation and comparison of different attributes of each tree, giving visitors a concrete idea of how forestry decisions are made, and priorities established in forest management.