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Category: Climate change

36° und es wird noch heißer: Innen Interforst, Draußen Waldbrand

WKR als Aussteller beim BMEL Stand auf der Interforst in München

Zwischen dem 17-20 August stand bei der Messe München alles im Zeichen von Wald. Die Interforst ist die Leitmesse für Forstwirtschaft und Forsttechnik und vereinigt über 300 Aussteller und 31000 Besucher aus knapp 60 Ländern.

Auf Einladung des Bundesministeriums für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL) wurden 3 Projekte ausgewählt, die am Stand des Ministeriums auf der Interforst ihr Projekt vorstellen konnten. Das vom Waldklimafonds geförderte und am EFI Bonn ansässige Waldbrand-Klima-Resilienz Projekt war eines dieser Projekte. Die Einladung haben wir dankend angenommen und uns gefreut das Thema Waldbrand(management) unter die Leute zu bringen- und es ist brandaktuell. Während der Messetage überschlugen sich die Nachrichten von Waldbränden in Deutschland und ganz Europa. Parallel zu den Gesprächen vor Ort mit Besuchern, stieg auch das mediale Interesse für die Thematik und so haben die WKR Experten Alexander Held und Lindon Pronto an den Tagen verschiedensten Medien zahlreiche Interviews und Statements gegeben. Diese sind wichtiger Teil des WKR Projektziels, für das Thema Waldbrand zu sensibilisieren und auch das Konzept vom ganzheitlichen Waldbrandmanagement stärker in den Fokus der Öffentlichkeit zu bringen.

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Expecting the unexpected: how to manage forest landscapes in a highly uncertain future?

In past blog posts we have been discussing how forest landscapes can be seen as interconnected and functional complex networks – and shown how network analysis can be combined with modelling and forest management. But is the so-called functional network approach really an efficient way to optimize forest landscape management and to promote ecological resilience in the face of unexpected global change stresses?

When we go hiking in the mountains, we know that before reaching an appealing and gratifying view we often need to walk up a few hundred meters inside a forest. Sounds natural, it has always been this way. We have cities, crop fields, grasslands, forests, rocky mountain peaks, etc. Forests are intrinsically part of our cultural landscape, and it is normal to think they will always be. Although such landscapes look simple, when we disentangle each single element, we realise that it is a very complex socio-ecological network, with both human and biophysical processes linked across different spatial and temporal scales.

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New Policy Brief out now: Challenges and solutions for European forests and related value chains in times of climate change

How can we increase the sustainability and resilience of our European forests and related value chains in times of climate change? I-Maestro (Innovative forest management…

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Is European forest management out of alignment with natural patterns in disturbances?

by Joshua Brow, University of Vermont

European forests are in trouble. “Not because they’re being lost,” says University of Vermont scientist William Keeton. “Europe, actually, is greener and more heavily forested now than it has been in centuries.” But many of the continent’s forests are suffering major insect outbreaks, forest disease problems, increasing frequencies of wind-storms, and more-intense fires.
To help give forest managers and policymakers new options, Keeton and a large team of European scientists completed an extensive, multi-year study of forests in thirteen countries across the continent.

Their results show that most current forest management in Europe doesn’t imitate the patterns of nature—specifically, the complex patterns created by natural disturbances that leave behind a mosaic of tree types, ages, and sizes; standing and downed dead wood; and highly variable, resilient landscapes.

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Why should we all learn to think like foresters

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.

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“Herkulesaufgabe in Zeiten maximaler Unsicherheit”

Auch wenn unsere Nachrichten derzeit von anderen Themen dominiert werden:  Am Internationalen Tag des Waldes tauchte aus endlosen Pandemie-Wellen und dem Krieg in der Ukraine kurz auch mal wieder das Thema Wald und Klimaerwärmung auf. Die aktuell krassen Temperaturrekorde in Arktis und Antarktis betreffen den Wald zwar nicht direkt, aber selbst Klimawissenschaftler*innen sind beunruhigt über die unerwartet starke Anhäufung von Extremereignissen. Jegliches Mittelmaß scheint dem Wetter abhandengekommen zu sein. Nachdem im Winter noch die Alarmglocken auf der Iberischen Halbinsel läuteten, weil wochenlang alle Niederschläge mit den Tiefdruckgebieten nach Mitteleuropa abgedrängt wurden, hat sich das Blatt jetzt radikal gedreht. Statt Trockenstress sind dort nun Unwetterwarnungen wegen Starkniederschlägen angezeigt. Ich freue mich immer über März-Sonne, aber Wälder und Äcker sehnen sich hierzulande schon wieder nach Feuchtigkeit – es hat ja kaum nennenswert geregnet den ganzen Monat. Der Klimawandel mag von anderen Themen überdeckt werden, ist aber weiter aktuell und alarmierend. Das weiß auch der seit 100 Tagen amtierende Bundesminister Cem Özdemir, der in seinem Grußwort zum digitalen Waldsymposium am Tag des Waldes unterstrichen hat, wie wichtig die Förderung der Anpassungsfähigkeit unserer Wälder in diesen Zeiten ist.  

Die Anpassung von Wäldern und Waldwirtschaft an den Klimawandel wird uns als Thema noch lange beschäftigen. Der Wissenschaftliche Beirat für Waldpolitik (WBW), der die Bundesregierung bei der Gestaltung der Rahmenbedingungen für eine nachhaltige Bewirtschaftung der Wälder unterstützt, hat zu diesem Thema im Oktober ein Gutachten veröffentlicht. Darin werden – basierend auf aktuellen Forschungserkenntnissen – Handlungsempfehlungen in unterschiedlichen Themenfeldern formuliert.  

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Greener, less mortality: The ranking of European Cities

Written by Gabriela Grigorita

Half the world’s population lives in cities and this is likely to increase to 70% over the next 20 years. Cities provide jobs, are centers of innovation and wealth creation, but also often are hotspots of air pollution (e.g. particulate matter, NO2), noise, heat and disease. It is well known that the high density of buildings and roads may cause the so-called urban heat island, defined as build-up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. Furthermore, cities often lack accessible green space and physical activity levels of people are below recommended guidelines. They also generate a large proportion of CO2 emissions and contribute significantly to the climate crisis. Recent estimates show that 60%-80% of final energy use globally is consumed by urban areas and more than 70% of global greenhouse gas emissions are produced within urban areas.

Up to 9 million people die each year because of ambient air pollution levels, 3.2 million because of lack of physical activity and 1.2 million because of traffic accidents. Noise causes more than 1.8 million deaths a year in Europe alone and heat may cause as much as around 0.4% of premature mortality annually worldwide. Population growth, aging and the climate crisis put a further burden on cities in many aspects, including health.

A team from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) has identified European cities with the highest and lowest death rates attributable to a lack of green space. The team analyzed more than 1,000 cities of over 100,000 residents in 31 European countries. The results were published in The Lancet Planetary Health and concluded that up to 43,000 premature deaths could be prevented each year if these cities met the World Health Organization’s guidelines on housing proximity to green space.

Green spaces bring a long range of benefits to our health, including lower premature mortality, longer life expectancy, fewer mental health problems, fewer cardiovascular diseases, better cognitive functioning in children and healthier seniors and babies. As we all know, green also helps mitigate air pollution, heat and noise levels, help capture CO2, and provide opportunities for exercise and social interaction.

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