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Category: Events

The roots of innovation – setting the course for sustainable growth in the forest sector

This year, the International Day of Forests (IDF) theme is ‘Forests and Innovation.’ In alignment with this theme, FOREST EUROPE organized a webinar on 14 March 2024 to commemorate it and facilitate a networking space for start-ups, forest practitioners, students, policymakers, and interested people.

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Integrative forest management requires integrative solutions

Good practices for engaging different perspectives on forests. Register now for the next Integrate Webinar!

How can we manage our forests in the best way – both beneficial for nature and people? How can we integrate different forest functions and ecosystem services, and address trade-offs in forest management? What can we do to improve the communication and knowledge exchange between stakeholders who have “skin in the game” and potentially conflicting interests?

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Taking Green Care to the next level

From social farming to impacts of disconnection from nature on psychological and community resilience to finding science-based strategies to innovate and promote nature-based health and social care: on 7 December around 100 participants from 24 countries across 4 continents joined the final  online event of the Green4C (GreenForCare) project. A mentimeter showed that people came from varying working backgrounds: education, research, Green Care practice, Health care, politics, and more. 

The event was opened with an exciting presentation by Matilda van den Bosch (IS Global) discussing the state of science in Green Care. Green Care stands for a “range of activities that promote physical and mental health and well-being through contact with nature” (1). Her presentation set the scene for the meeting showing how crucial nature is for our physical and psychological health. Next, Deirdre O’Connor (University College Dublin) and Marjolein Elings (Wageningen University & Research) introduced Social Agriculture, one of thematic sectors of Green Care. Especially the video from social farms and gardens brought across the feeling of how much social agriculture can do for physical and mental well-being as well as to strengthen social inclusion. As Jim Hidderley put it in the video “Humanity is not designed to life in a box! Green spaces, fresh air, animals and contact with other people that is, that is the key to life”.

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Health in the city – How can we all get more Green Care?

Mental health issues such as anxiety, stress and depression are especially since the pandemic on a massive rise around the globe (1) and scientific studies have shown that we spend around 90% of our time indoors (2). At the same time the research is becoming more and more clear: nature does not only help to improve our physical but also psychological wellbeing, summarized under the term “Green Care”, standing for a “range of activities that promote physical and mental health and well-being through contact with nature” (3). Several studies have shown that when we spend time in nature our stress levels are lowered (4), our anxiety level decreases (5) and the time spent in forests can even help in preventing or curing burn-out and depression (6). We can reconnect to our emotions which facilitates personal insights and leaves us feeling more connected to ourselves (7) and cope better with stress, which makes us more resilient and positively affects our mood states (8). Furthermore, our social connection can be facilitated when we deeply experience forests together (7). But it is not only humans who benefit from spending time in nature:  There might also be a positive outcome for nature, because research shows that if we feel connected we are more motivated to behave environmentally responsible (9) and support pro-environmental outcomes (10).
But even though research results are so promising, Green Care initiatives often face difficulties due to uncertainties in financing, low public awareness, recognition of the role of such initiatives and there has hardly been any integration into health policy to date. The Green4C project, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, has been working the last three years towards the innovation and promotion of Green Care. In order to find innovative solutions to mainstream Green Care, six hackathons in six countries were organized, one of which was the Green Care Hackathon on the 23rd of November at the EFI office in Bonn.

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“Imagine there’s a forest” – inspirations from Francis Hallé

Humans originate from arboreal primates, so to really understand the forest, you have to experience it from the canopy. This is what the famous French botanist and conservationist Francis Hallé believes. Despite his respectable age, the spry octogenarian had no issues demonstrating his capability to do so on the tree top path next the biosphere centre in the Pfälzerwald.

Located on the French border, in the middle of the largest contiguous forest in Germany, this centre is the location of the Wasgauer Gespräche/les entretiens du Wasgau. Every second year, this bilingual event brings together people from the French and the German sides of the border to talk about various nature-related topics. This year’s question was: how much nature do humans need? Speaking on behalf of EFI and the Integrate network, I was the only presenter to talk about the pragmatic need for wood, and how integrative forest management can be a solution for providing needed draw materials while also conserving biodiversity. This however does not mean that it is the best solution everywhere. In some places a more intensive management style makes sense, while in others the wise option is to leave nature to itself. And this is exactly the case made by Francis Hallé during the opening session of the event.

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8th Annual Integrate Network Meeting: Looking for common approaches for multifunctional forests in Europe

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.

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Green Care Hackathon 23.11 in Bonn

Waren Sie in diesem heißen Sommer auch so glücklich, im Stadtpark unter Bäumen auszuruhen? Haben Sie auch gemerkt, wie ruhig und zufrieden uns städtische Grünflächen und -Wälder machen kann – egal, ob wir dort Chillen, Joggen, oder mit Expert*innen etwas über die Wunder unserer Natur lernen?

Wir haben uns gefragt: Wie können wir noch mehr von den positiven Auswirkungen von Natur- und Umweltpädagogik, oder auch von Waldtherapie profitieren? Wie könnte dieses “Green Care” als Präventivleistung von Krankenkassen angeboten werden, und welche innovativen und tragfähige privatwirtschaftliche Initiativen gibt es? Um mit Ihnen gemeinsam Antworten zu diesen Fragen zu finden, veranstaltet das European Forest Institute in Bonn am 23. November 2022 im Rahmen des „Green4C“-Projektes einen “Hackathon”.

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SUPERB & IUFRO 1st Forest Restoration Talk with John Stanturf: “If nature is the solution, what is the problem?”

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”.

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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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