Press "Enter" to skip to content

Category: Publication

Nordic Forest Policy – a journey through two centuries

This is a contribution from guest authors: Alexia Fridén1, Dalia D’Amato2,3, Hanna Ekström1, Bogomil Iliev4, Akonwi Nebsifu2, Wilhelm May1,Marianne Thomsen4, Nils Droste1.

1 Lund University, Sweden, 2 University of Helsinki, Finland, 3 Finnish Environment Institute, Finland, 4 Copenhagen University, Denmark

Forest ecosystems play a crucial role in providing economic, ecological, and social values, both nationally and internationally. This significance is particularly evident in the forest-rich countries of the Nordics such as Sweden and Finland, where a long history of forest policies unfolds, intertwined with national (and more recently, international) macro-trends such as war, economic boom, and globalization.

Leave a Comment

Wildfire science enters the Spanish Congress 

The work of Oficina C brings science to policymaking in Spain 

In 2019, the church of Notre Dame burnt down. Citizens of Hong Kong took the streets to protest for a better democracy. Students protested against inequality in Chile. The Amazon burned (and the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas went viral). Theresa May resigned as prime minister of the UK, and Simone Biles became the gymnast with the most medals in the history of world championships. Anyone slightly following the news probably remembers most of these events. 

However, in this blogpost I will talk about something else that happened in 2019, in this case in Spain, that went unheard of for most. It was the year when the Spanish Congress approved the creation of the Office for Science and Technology (Oficina C), in order to support a scientifically informed debate in the lower House. And you may wonder why is this relevant at all. It is relevant, because we live in the era of the “post-truth”. An era when fake-news appear on a daily basis, and where online disinformation is a matter of public concern. Making scientific findings accessible for policymakers has always been relevant, but now we need to facilitate evidence-based discussions more than ever.  

Leave a Comment

What foresters want

Recently there has been broad political interest in alternative forest management systems, in response factors that call for a rethinking of production-oriented forestry, including biodiversity concerns, resilience issues and socio-economic changes. The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 for example calls for the development of nature-oriented forestry practices to safeguard biodiversity and rural livelihoods. Moreover, it sets a target for 30% of the European land cover to be under some sort of protection scheme, with 10% being strictly protected. Correspondingly, the EU Forest Strategy for 2030 proposes Closer-to-Nature forestry as the forestry concept to help achieve these goals.

So far for the goals and aspirations of policy makers. But how do these aims relate to the reality on the ground, and how keen are forest managers to make that vision come true? Those are the questions we sought to answer in our newly published paper Integrating nature conservation measures in european forest management – An exploratory study of barriers and drivers in 9 european countries – ScienceDirect.

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

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.

Leave a Comment

The silent suffering of trees during the 2018 heatwave

New Nature Communication on the impact of the 2018 heatwave on trees growing across Central and Atlantic Europe published

Article by Ute Sass-Klaassen, Roberto L. Salomon, Georg von Arx, Kathy Steppe, Patrick Fonti, Roman Zweifel, Richard Peters, and Marcus Lindner

With the DenDrought2018 initiative, an international team of researchers is now able to tell a story about drought stress from the perception of 21 tree species across Europe. Results of their joint effort have now been published in Nature Communications under the title “The 2018 European heatwave led to stem dehydration but not to consistent growth reductions in forests” (doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27579-9)

Leave a Comment

Europe´s eyes on Earth to combat climate change effects in forests

A new publication identified end-user needs and opportunities for the use of climate data in the forestry sector.

The changing climate and increasing disturbance risks due to extreme weather events present major challenges to the forestry sector in Europe. Besides affecting forest productivity, observed effects of climate change include changes in tree growth patterns, drought induced mortality and species distribution shifts. Despite being dramatically impacted by climate change, forests also play a major role in mitigating its effects.

Using climate information in forestry decision-making processes is key to increase the ability to adapt to climate change. Climate data can serve forestry stakeholders in assessing the habitat suitability of different tree species and support management against droughts and pests. Also, the provision of climate change projections to the forestry sector is valuable for long-term decisions on planting strategies and exploitation plans. At the same time, medium-term decisions, such as harvest operations, postponed/anticipated planting, soil treatment methods, timber transportation etc., can be informed by seasonal forecasts. Interestingly, the recent policy ambitions put in motion by the European Commission, through its European Green Deal objectives, highlight the importance of using climate change data.

Leave a Comment

The Art of the “Green” Deal

New study on policy pathways for a third EU Forest Strategy out now

The European Green Deal is being promoted as a cornerstone for European policy over the next five years, setting out an ambitious package of measures that aim to facilitate a sustainable green transition in the EU. One of the many actions highlighted under the Green Deal is the third EU Forest Strategy, a non-legally binding (or soft) policy instrument for which the European Commission will prepare a proposal in 2021.

The ongoing policy discussion in Brussels is set against the backdrop of a new EU Biodiversity Strategy, an EU taxonomy for sustainable activities, the 2050 Climate Change Mitigation Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the recently adopted Adaptation Strategy. All these initiatives (and more) are being pushed as components of the Green Deal. However, whether and how these initiatives and strategies will influence the new EU Forest Strategy is still an unknown.

We have set out to investigate how forests have been framed in the Green Deal and to cast light on its potential role in the development of the third EU Forest Strategy – and our paper The ‘Art of the “Green” Deal – Policy pathways for a third EU Forest Strategy’ summarizing our study results has just been published in Forest Policy and Economics.

Leave a Comment

Spontaneous forest regrowth in Southwest Europe: Friend or Foe?

New publication on spontaneous forest regrowth in abandoned rural and peri-urban areas sheds light on the complex management issues that arise when land-use transforms.

Think about a natural space that is familiar to you. Open areas around your city, agricultural land around your village, or pastureland in the mountains where you grew up. Think about how they looked in the 1950s or 1960s, or even search for pictures if you don’t know or don’t remember. Do they look the same? If you’re from Southwest Europe, we suspect they don’t. The pastures you remember are slowly getting encroached upon by shrubs and trees. The farmlands from your village are no longer being used, and are now woodlands. Depending on the case, maybe even a pretty dense one.

Leave a Comment

Why a forest cannot be private – anthropological observations in the forest

Forests are much more than trees. At EFI we think about forests as nets of connected socio-ecological systems. To have a broader picture of these networks and to understand them better it is worth sometimes to look beyond trees and pay more attention to the people in and around the forests. Anthropologists are quite useful for this task, especially because they are those who ask: Why does the forest matter?  

As an anthropologist myself, I have been guided by this question during the fieldwork and research on the perception of forests and forestry in Poland. I was interested in who is negotiating the meaning of Polish forests, and when, how and why this is taking place. By studying these negotiations one can understand better the different beliefs, values, rationales and worldviews related to forests. And it becomes clearer how these are impacting approaches to forest management and nature conservation. In my work, I have been particularly interested in examining a juxtaposition of a category of forest (level of policies and politics) and a material forest (an element of the landscape). This allowed me to use the forest for a reflection on more compounded changes within Polish society.  

Leave a Comment