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Category: Forest conservation

Rise from the ashes

by Bas Lerink, supported by Judit Torres and Iñigo Oleagordia Montaña

The sun peaks over the roof of Cathedral Santa Maria as I make my way downtown the city of León. The huge stained-glass windows light up in red and yellow, as a promise for a hot day. I am meeting our Spanish SUPERB colleagues in their CESEFOR office, to catch up with recent activities in our SUPERB demonstration site. It is great to meet again with the demo representatives Judit Torres (CESEFOR) and Iñigo Oleagordia Montaña (Junta CyL) and to get to know Rafael, the forest manager of the El Bierzo sites. A lot has happened since we last met, so we take the time to discuss the events of the past weeks.

The Castilla y León demo gives a fascinating insight in the relationship between men and bear. The aim of the demo is to improve the habitat of the brown bear, while simultaneously engaging the rural population. If not challenging enough, there is always the lurking danger of forest fires in the region. Two weeks ago, Judit organised the demo’s stakeholder workshop, uniting friend, and foe of the bear. They discussed the forest restoration measures planned by the local partners, with room for adjustments. The presence of the brown bear can incidentally trouble activities of the local population, especially for beekeepers. But they already found a solution by subsidising e.g. electric fencing around the beehives, to fend off curious bears with a sweet tooth. In the coming weeks, the workplan will be finalised, with detailed descriptions of the restoration measures on specific sites, and I am already curious to read them.

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Sustaining cities, naturally – across 3 continents

The role of cities in the light of the health of people and the planet alike, is undeniably crucial. While cities only make up about 2% of terrestrial areas, more than 50% of the World’s population is already living in cities (Pincetl, 2017). This trend of urbanization is expected to continue to grow into a staggering 65% of the world population living in cities by 2040 (weforum, 2019).  

While poorly planned urbanization can lead to societal challenges such as social deprivation, climate change, deteriorating health and increasing pressure on urban nature, urban ecosystem restoration can contribute to lessen these challenges, through for example implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). Research by the ISGlobal drastically illustrated this: An increase in overall greenness in cities could prevent up to almost 43.000 deaths in European cities every year (ISGlobal, 2021).
On Thursday and Friday, the 13th and 14th of October the webinar “Sustaining Cities, Naturally” focused precisely on these topics: NBS and urban ecosystem restoration. The webinar was jointly organized by four Horizon 2020 projects: INTERLACECONEXUSREGREEN and CLEARING HOUSE as an official side-event of the The European Week of Regions and Cities 2022. By bringing together cities, regions and local authorities, city network representatives, policy makers, researchers, civil society and experts on NBS and urban ecosystem restoration, the webinar was a showcase example of international cooperation in knowledge creation and exchange. With a total of 333 participants on Thursday and 571 on Friday as well as 29 speakers, NBS and urban ecosystems restoration in Europe, China and Latin America were discussed in depth and from various perspectives.  

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A decision guide for choosing the right connectivity tools

If you are confused and intimidated by the sheer number of tools to analyze connectivity related questions, don’t worry. We feel you.

We’ve all been there – we have an interesting research question, we collected data, but we come to a screeching halt when we are faced with the numerous tools in the field of connectivity science. Every paper we read points us in a different direction, and at the end we are left wondering which one we should use and why.

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What if digital art and augmented reality could bring us closer to the forests?

by Beatrice Bellavia

Can you evoke the typical scent of a forest? Close your eyes and imagine walking down a path of needles, that is all it takes. But did you know that trees are not only oxygen generators – but produce large amounts of volatile organic compounds?  It is basically as if they were breathing, and this is precisely where the unmistakable forest smell comes from. 

Recently, I have experienced how trees breath – but guess what: not in the forest, but in a museum. It happened when I approached the immersive installation „ATMOSPHERIC FOREST“. In this installation, thanks to the augmented reality technology, I was able to navigate through the „breathing“ trees of the Swiss forest of Pfynwald.  I watched the forest from the bottom up, followed the path through the tree trunk until it brought the eye far up above the trees – yes, like a bird.

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Exploring Romanian forests – an unexpected journey

by Silke Jacobs, Sara Filipek, Gert-Jan Nabuurs & Bas Lerink

‘Timber Mafia’, ‘Notorious corruption’ and ‘Destruction of last virgin forests’. News articles about Romanian forests and their management are dominated by headlines like these or with a likewise tendency. But we were wondering: Is that really the only thing we should know about Romanian forests? Or are there also examples of good and sustainable forest management – as well as protection of primary forests? 

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Improving forest resilience and enhancing biodiversity in European Forests: findings, experiences, and prospects

For two days, on June 28-29, over 50 marteloscope managers, researchers, and further forestry experts from more than 12 European countries participated in a workshop…

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Celebrating #EarthDay2022 with a tribute to microhabitats, the building blocks of biodiverse ecosystems

It is common practice to celebrate Earth Day by highlighting the vast array of habitats on Earth and the ecosystem services they provide – but…

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Die Zukunft des Waldes in NRW – Diskussion mit Politikvertreter*innen

Von Holzbau und Windkraft im Wald zum Lebensraum für zahlreiche Pflanzen und Tiere, vom Erholungsort für uns Menschen zum CO2-Speicher: Wir sind heute mehr denn je auf die vielfältigen Leistungen unserer regionalen Wälder angewiesen. In Zeiten von Klimawandel und intensiven Störungen wie Sturm, Dürre und Borkenkäfernmüssen wir uns aber auch verstärkt die Frage stellen, wie wir diese Leistungen in Zukunft sichern können. Eine gemeinsame Antwort auf diese Herausforderungen hat die Landesregierung NRW im Dezember 2019 mit Verbänden aus Forst- und Holzwirtschaft, Naturschutz und Berufsvertretung formuliert, in dem sie den Waldpakt „Klimaschutz für den Wald – unser Wald für den Klimaschutz“ unterzeichnet hat.

Nur gesunde und vielfältige Wälder können ihre Potenziale für den Klimaschutz, die nachhaltige Rohstofferzeugung und die biologische Vielfalt voll ausschöpfen – aber was sind die politischen Ziele rund um den Waldpakt, und wie stehen Vertreterinnen und Vertreter der im Land und/oder Bund regierenden Parteien im Jahr 2022 dazu?

Aus Anlass der anstehenden Landtagswahl in NRW, veranstalten die am Waldpakt beteiligten Verbände, auf Initiative des Forstvereins NRW am 5. April von 18-19:30 Uhr eine Diskussionsrunde mit politischen Entscheidungsträgerinnen über die verschiedenen Handlungsfelder des Waldpaktes. Damit sollen alle am Wald Interessierten Gelegenheit bekommen, sich über die zukünftigen politischen Ziele rund um den Wald in NRW zu informieren. Die Anmeldung erfolgt über Eventbrite: Die Zukunft des Waldes in NRW – Diskussion mit Politikvertreter*innen Tickets, Di, 05.04.2022 um 18:00 Uhr | Eventbrite

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Webinar Recap – Climate change adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation in European forests: different sides of the same coin?

Do climate adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation goals walk hand in hand when it comes to the management of Europe’s forests? Or are they closely related, but essentially different pursuits?

As the climate and biodiversity crises aggravate, forest ecosystems are at the interplay of multiple and often competing policy priorities, resulting both in synergies and in trade-offs. These pose challenges not only to policymakers but also to private forest owners, who own 60% of the forests in Europe and face difficult choices ahead as they aim for more resilient forest ecosystems while preserving their productivity.

To unravel the complexities of the topic, EFI and IUCN invited representatives from the EU Commission, academia, and the advocacy and policy arenas to debate key issues related to integrated forest management at the webinar “Are climate change adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation in European forests: two sides of the same coin?”, hosted on the 2nd of March 2022. The event was organised within the framework of the SINCERE Horizon 2020 project and of the Integrate Network, which were introduced by Marko Lovric, SINCERE project coordinator and Senior Researcher at EFI’s Bioeconomy Programme, and Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of EFI’s Bonn Office and Resilience programme, representing the Integrate Secretariat.

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