Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Forest Governance

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. 

Leave a Comment

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…

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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.

Leave a Comment

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). 

Leave a Comment

What Twitter images tell us about COP27 issues: A focus on the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership and Biodiversity Day

In our previous exploration we looked at how Twitter hashtags can help us inquire into emerging public issues around global events like COP27. In our rapid exploration, based on the digital methods recipes developed by SUPERB partners at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London and the Public Data Lab, we identified different ways people engage with forest restoration through keywords like #conservation, #afforestation, and #rewild. Hashtags such as #forestsarenotfuel and #lettreesgrow problematised the economic use of forests. Political matters also came up, linking the Amazon rainforest and changing politics in Brazil.

COP27 was undeniably an important meeting to follow up on last year’s Glasgow Leader’s Declaration on Forests and Land Use, where over 140 world leaders pledged to “halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030”. This year’s COP also saw dozens of governments collectively announcing the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), and the day dedicated to biodiversity acted as a platform to discuss the progress of the Glasgow commitment.

Leave a Comment

COP27 on Twitter: Forest restoration issues and narratives through hashtags

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has prompted confusion among its users and concerns about the platform’s future. Musk’s tweets are gathering daily attention due to large-scale layoffs and safety concerns around the new paid blue verification mark. To make things worse, as its engineers are on their way out of the door, users are also experiencing various technical glitches on the platform. Millions of users – including journalists, researchers and organisations – are already signing up on alternative platforms to be prepared for the platform’s deterioration and demise.  

While no one can predict Twitter’s future, it remains widely used by politicians, scientists, companies, NGOs and influencers who are still busy posting on the platform. This includes COP27 in Egypt, where Twitter was one of the main platforms to report on the event. #cop27 has been tweeted over 2.85 million times since 5 November 2022.  

Leave a Comment