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Category: Resilience

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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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.

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Is European forest management out of alignment with natural patterns in disturbances?

by Joshua Brow, University of Vermont

European forests are in trouble. “Not because they’re being lost,” says University of Vermont scientist William Keeton. “Europe, actually, is greener and more heavily forested now than it has been in centuries.” But many of the continent’s forests are suffering major insect outbreaks, forest disease problems, increasing frequencies of wind-storms, and more-intense fires.
To help give forest managers and policymakers new options, Keeton and a large team of European scientists completed an extensive, multi-year study of forests in thirteen countries across the continent.

Their results show that most current forest management in Europe doesn’t imitate the patterns of nature—specifically, the complex patterns created by natural disturbances that leave behind a mosaic of tree types, ages, and sizes; standing and downed dead wood; and highly variable, resilient landscapes.

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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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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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An Orwellian debate on the national parks in Slovakia: What can a scientist do in a post-truth era?

Should we foster commodity production or biodiversity in our forests? Or try to integrate them both? When working on and with forests, certain tensions and occasional conflicts between representatives of forest management and nature conservation are a notorious part of our lives. In some places, the animosities are more obvious than in others, though integrative approaches are obviously gaining attraction. I share here my recent observations from Slovakia, my home country with diverse forests passing from the High Tatras with an iconic national park to the Danube Lowland with dry oak forests. Recent political decisions concerning the fate of our national parks upheaved society once again and made me realize how data and knowledge can be misused to back up any policy in place, rather than provide impartial grounds for knowledge-based decisions.

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Visit our new RESONATE web site!

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new RESONATE website. Now you can visit our home page, specially designed to offer the information you need about the resilience of European forests and associated value chains, and the project’s latest updates.

Our approach consists in offering customized information according to RESONATE’s different focal audiences, making it easier for you to navigate through the pages and find what you need.

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Disturbances, forests, and people: operating the world of forest resilience

In recent weeks, the RESONATE project’s Twitter has explored different definitions for forest resilience. Some of them sounded rather similar, some very different and all of them might have left the reader with more questions: “But what does this mean in practice?”. Armed with coffee and cookies, I’ll try to enlighten the mysterious and sometimes headache-inducing world of resilience.

To make some sense of the different definitions, it is good to remember that they are rarely completely new and innovative but are based on some previous definitions from which they have been further developed. That is why some of them sound very similar but with some notable differences.

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From the birds’ eye perspective to actions on the ground

SUPERB to promote forest restoration and adaptation across Europe

by Gesche Schifferdecker and Rina Tsubaki

Imagine you were a bird flying over Europe. You would see cities and villages, rivers, agricultural landscape, and forests covering almost one-third of Europe. You will distinguish many different types of trees: dark green or more reddish, straight and tall, wide and crooked or small and slender, with many different shapes of leaves or needles. While flying over Europe, you would also encounter damaged forest areas, burned down by the fire, or destroyed by bark beetles; and tree leaves affected by air pollution and herbivorous pests, or turning yellow and brown from a drought. These disturbances overall are becoming more frequent and severe, be it due to various short-sighted human interventions or ongoing climate change. Luckily, it is not all bad news. From the air, you would also see people working in these damaged forests, planting or seeding new trees, or protecting the naturally regenerating forest against grazing. You would discover people preserving surviving old trees or even the deadwood, because these people have understood how valuable they are for a functioning ecosystem. If done right and with some luck, a diverse and healthy forest will again develop, which will be roamed once more by the many forest creatures.

While there is a widespread awareness of the urgency to conserve and restore biodiversity and halt climate change, in fact much more actions are needed on the ground to ensure long-term thriving of forests in Europe. A series of political commitments at the European level are already in place, including the 2019 European Green Deal, the 2020 EU Biodiversity Strategy and EU Forest Strategy 2030. Yet, in many places a transformative change is still needed on the ground.

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