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Category: Forest Governance

Waldbrände – Wenn der Klimawandel Mensch und Natur bedroht

Waldbrandexperte Alexander Held im Gespräch mit G’Scheitholz! über Waldbrand, Prävention und Bekämpfung

Waldbrände prägen seit Jahrhunderten die mediterranen Landschaften in Südeuropa. Aber auch in Mitteleuropa werden Waldbrände immer häufiger und riskanter. Sowohl Klimawandel als auch Trends in der Landnutzung und Landschaftveränderungen führen weltweit zu extremer Feueraktivität und stellen die verschiedenen Regionen vor neue Herausforderungen.

Die Prävention von Waldbränden müsste noch mehr zur Zielsetzung werden, meint Waldbrandexperte Alexander Held vom European Forest Insitute im Gespräch mit dem österreichischen Klimaschutz-podcast G’Scheitholz!. Zwar können wir nicht alle Feuer verhindern, doch eine gute Prävention kann dafür sorgen, dass die Feuer, die auftreten, beherrschbar bleiben für die Feuerwehr. Das bedeutet beispielsweise die Brandlast, also die Menge an Brennmaterial, an Waldwegen zu reduzieren und mehr Pufferzonen zu schaffen.

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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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„10 Must-Knows” als Wegweiser für mehr Biodiversität

Neuer Policy Report mit Kapitel zum Erhalt von Biodiversität und vielfältiger Waldnutzung 

Von der noch unentdeckten Artenvielfalt über widerstandsfähige Wälder bis zu den Auswirkungen des Lebensmittelkonsums auf die Natur: 64 Expertinnen und Experten haben jetzt ihr Wissen und ihre Empfehlungen gebündelt und in Form von „10 Must-Knows aus der Biodiversitätsforschung“ für 2024 veröffentlicht. Der neue Bericht des Leibniz-Forschungsnetzwerks Biodiversität zeigt Politik und Gesellschaft konkrete Wege auf, wie die biologische Vielfalt in Deutschland auf lokaler, nationaler und europäischer Ebene wirksam erhalten und nachhaltig genutzt werden kann, und wie sich dadurch zugleich das Klima schützen lässt. Eines der 10 Must-Knows Kapitel bezieht sich dabei auch konkret auf den Umgang mit unseren Wäldern. Mit der Veröffentlichung steuern die Forschenden aktuelle, wissenschaftliche Fakten zur Debatte um die nationale Biodiversitätsstrategie bei, die noch vor der nächsten Weltnaturkonferenz (CBD COP 15) im Herbst 2024 verabschiedet werden soll.

Nach der großen Resonanz auf die 2022 erstmals veröffentlichten „10 Must-Knows aus der Biodiversitätsforschung“ haben jetzt Forschende aus insgesamt 52 deutschen und internationalen Forschungseinrichtungen – einschließlich des European Forest Institutes – ihre Expertise aus den Umwelt-, Lebens-, Raum-, Sozial-, Geistes- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften in die Neufassung eingebracht. „Bereits heute überschreiten wir planetare Belastungsgrenzen, sowohl bei der globalen Erwärmung als auch beim Verlust biologischer Vielfalt. Um diesen Krisen zu begegnen, braucht es gemeinsame Antworten. Wir wissen, dass der Schutz der Biodiversität wesentlich dazu beitragen kann, den Klimawandel abzuschwächen, etwa durch artenreiche Wälder und wiedervernässte Moore, die Kohlenstoff speichern. Nur wenn Maßnahmen zum Schutz der Biodiversität stärker in den Fokus rücken, kann es gelingen, gegen beide Krisen zugleich vorzugehen“, sagt Dr. Kirsten Thonicke, Leitautorin und stellvertretende Abteilungsleiterin am Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK), die das Forschungsnetzwerk koordiniert. 

Auch das European Forest Institute in Bonn steuert mit Forschungserkenntnissen zu Waldbewirtschaftung und Biodiversitätsschutz zu dieser Neufassung bei. In Kapitel 5 „Vielfältige Nutzung von Waldökosystemen und Biodiversitätschutz in Einklang bringen”, erläutern 7 Wissenschaftler*innen aus 5 verschiedenen Institutionen, darunter Leitautor Mats Nieberg und Ko-autor*innen Trishna Dutta und Andreas Schuck vom European Forest Institute, wie unterschiedliche Bedürfnisse und Anforderungen an Wälder integriert werden können.

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The future of sustainable forest management grows with TRANSFORMIT

New collaborative project launches to integrate societal demands with biodiversity conservation

Whether we witness branches coming back to life as spring unfolds, observe squirrels swiftly disappearing into the woods, or notice the crisp sound of boots on snow-covered trails—forest experiences hold meaning to us in many ways. But how else can we value forests?

Clean water sources, fresh air, healthy soil, flood control, climate change mitigation, and the survival of wildlife—all of these contribute to the relational value of forests. This goes beyond mere timber; forests embody a wealth of long-lasting socio-ecological benefits. We deeply rely on forests for social, economic, and cultural wellbeing. Balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders and reconciling short-term gains with long-term interests has been a historical challenge in the relationship between societal demands and forest conservation efforts. It is a dilemma that risks fueling environmental conflict and pessimism across the world.

Integrative Forest Management (IFM) emerges as a practical solution to address these conflicts. IFM seeks to harmonize the ecological and socio-economic demands for forests through sustainable forest management, aiming to enhance biodiversity while equally ensuring economic viability. Over the past 13 years, European Forest Institute’s (EFI) exploration and research into IFM through projects like Integrate (2011-2013), Integrate+ (2013-2016), INFORMA (2017-2020), and FoReSite (2020-2022), have been proactive. While the concept of IFM is well-established, it currently lacks operational elements in terms of verification, monitoring, guidance, and Europe-wide implementation. This gap is what led us to initiate the new TRANSFORMIT project. 

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New EU commodity trade rules and related challenges for the timber sector – Views from Cameroon 

Imagine you were a vendor selling products on the market. One day, some of your known, old buyers would start demanding assurances that your products…

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Breaking down barriers to sustainability transition

Imagine an approach that can tackle the complex and interconnected challenges we face today— commonly known as “wicked problems”. Consider sectors like water, energy, and food, traditionally, these sectors have been treated in isolation, leading to fragmented decision-making and unintended consequences. Take, for example, the issue of water scarcity, which directly impacts agricultural productivity, subsequently affecting our food security. On the other end of the spectrum, consider energy production, which often demands significant water consumption, creating potential conflicts between allocating water for energy generation and meeting agricultural needs.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in the nexus approach as a framework for addressing those wicked problems that defy traditional, siloed solutions. The nexus approach embraces a systems-thinking perspective, recognizing that the actions we take within one sector can have ripple effects across other sectors. It is a call to move beyond the confines of siloed thinking.

Despite its promising potential, the nexus approach has not been widely implemented in policy or practice. This realization propelled our investigation into the challenges surrounding the application of integrative approaches, such as the nexus approach, with a special focus on how international organizations embrace them. As a collaborative effort between researchers from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), the European Forest Institute (EFI) Forest Policy Research Network (FPRN), University College London, and the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), we were interested in exploring what the “street-level bureaucracy” concept means for the nexus approach. We are thrilled to announce that our recent paper, titled: ‘The mirage of integration: Taking a street-level perspective on the nexus approach‘ encapsulates some of our findings and insights from this work.

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How does the European Union make forest policy decisions?

Written by Helga Pülzl

When thinking about the European Union, we can get the impression that policymaking is complicated, distant, and not relevant to citizens in the EU member states. Think about forest policy. Isn’t it true that forest-related policy decisions are made in our own parliaments guided by our elected politicians only? Well, not really. The decision process is more complicated than that.  

Around 80% of the decisions relevant to the environment are now taken at the EU level. Despite all member states having strong forest legislation in place, many topics like nature and biodiversity protection, or climate change are policy areas where the European Union takes collective action.

However, decision-making at the European level differs substantially from that at the national level. National policy advisers, their ministers, and European Parliamentarians collaborate with the European Commission to agree on shared policy aims and decide on new forest-related policies and regulations.

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Re-spiritualizing forests… What in heaven does this mean?!

“In the forests are things you could lie in the moss for years pondering about.” (Franz Kafka) 

With this quotation from a famous local poet, we started our SINCERE project workshop in 2019 in the city of Prague. Experts and enthusiasts of spiritual and cultural values of forests from across Europe and Asia came together for three days to discuss how the “spiritual values of forests” have been relevant in the past as well as the present.  

The result is an exploratory study, based on knowledge from 18 inter-disciplinary experts including natural and social scientists, recently published in Ecology & Society. Funeral forests, forest therapy, and forest bathing: these are all “new” trends, especially in Europe. What is the spiritual fuss over forests about? That’s what we wanted to find out! 

But this spiritual interest in forests is not new at all. Humans have had a close relationship with forests and have been intrigued by their magical nature since forever. Societies depended on forests also for their spiritual development, e.g., sacred natural sites (sacred groves), of which some still exist today. We also know that forests and trees are often central in myths and folklore – thinking about the Brothers Grimm fairytales, but also myths including the mystical and magical power of certain tree species such as the oak…. (and again, even in art and films today such as Lord of the Ring’s Treebeard character and Avatar). 

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