Thanks to global trade, Western societies are not only wealthy but have also access to diverse products. From diapers for our babies or diesel for our cars to the dressing for our salad – the movement of goods in a globalized world allows us to have products for consumption that would otherwise not be available. These can often be everyday products and items taken for granted, so that we don’t necessarily even think of their origins. For example, a typical home would have wooden furniture like tables or shelves. They, or parts of them, could come from wood harvested in Central Africa. Or a common meal could consist of pork meat, where the pork was fed with soymeal processed from soybeans grown in Brazil. Unfortunately, the farming or harvesting of many goods – especially those of biomass like wood or soy – can have negative impacts on the biodiversity of ecosystems, including our forests. As such, the wooden furniture we buy or the pork we eat could be associated with biodiversity loss. In other words, trade becomes the mechanism that links our consumption habits to environmental damage abroad. But, how could we benefit from trade and conserve biodiversity at the same time?
Tag: biodiversity conservation
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: INTERLACE, CONEXUS, REGREEN 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.
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.
How are climate change adaptation and mitigation linked to forest biodiversity conservation in the EU’s forests, and what are the major trade offs and synergies? What are the…
As part of the European Network Integrate, Elisabet Andersson is the Swedish focal point responsible for questions of forest conservation. We spoke with her about the role Swedish forests play for the economy, what measures are taken to both to preserve and to increase biodiversity, and how the Swedish Forest Agency is aiming at improving collaboration between forest professionals, policy makers and societal actors.
Despite making up a small fraction of forest area in Europe, primary and old-growth forests generate heated debates given their importance for biodiversity conservation and provision of many ecosystem services. However, due to the complexity surrounding these forests, discussions sometimes seem to circle indefinitely. Inputs from the latest scientific research are therefore exceptionally valuable, especially when it comes to guiding policy implementation on their protection.
On September 21st, 2021, a webinar on two recently published studies on primary and old-growth forests held by the Commission Working Group on Forests and Nature (sub-working group of the Co-coordination Group for Biodiversity and Nature) provided such an opportunity. EFI presented its recent study, Protecting old-growth forests in Europe – a review of scientific evidence to inform policy implementation. Following, José Barredo gave insight to the Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) report on Mapping and assessment of primary and old-growth forests in Europe. The Working Group, which aims to progress the process to define, map, monitor, and strictly protect EU’s primary and old-growth forests, hosted the webinar with the goal of raising awareness of the two studies among the group’s members, as well as to discuss how the scientific findings could inform their ongoing process.
EFI report contributes to debate on how to achieve old-growth forest protection targets in the EU
If you ask stakeholders all over Europe “How should we address the remaining old-growth forests?”, you can expect eyebrows to be raised. Most of us agree that despite covering only a small fraction of Europe’s land area, old-growth and other primary forests play an important role in biodiversity conservation and in the provision of other ecosystem services. But other aspects of the topic are constantly debated. Discussions of old-growth forests also have new policy implications, as the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 sets the target to strictly protect all remaining EU primary and old-growth forests. This is part of a wider objective to strictly protect 10% of EU land area.
However, the path to protection is not so straight forward. It starts with questions continuing to circle at policy level and in academia on how old-growth forest should be defined. Similarly, we face unresolved issues on how to implement the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. Aiming at informing discussions related to these questions, European Forest Institute (EFI) recently released a study titled ‘Protecting old-growth forests in Europe – a review of scientific evidence to inform policy implementation’.
On March 30, the European Network Integrate hosted the webinar “Policy challenges of integrating biodiversity conservation in forest management – the way forward”, gathering over 100 attendees. The webinar brought together forest policy experts from the French, German, Italian and Swiss governments to compare country perspectives and lessons learned on how to advance forest biodiversity conservation in Europe, in relation to the new EU Forest Strategy.
Witten by Huntley Brownell and Andrew Stratton
Many readers of this blog are likely familiar with marteloscopes (if not, click here to read more). We think our story demonstrates the remarkable educational potential of this tool, and we would like to share it with you.
Our story begins deep in the Black Forest, outside of Freiburg in Germany. It was long, long ago, before corona times: the autumn of 2018. We were part of a group of MSc students studying Forest and Nature Management on a study tour from the University of Copenhagen, and we were brought to visit the Rosskopf marteloscope.
By now we all understand the limitations of virtual meetings; back then the forty of us, carefree and not at all socially distanced, took for granted the vibrant educational environment of in-person learning. With tablets in hand, groups of students and professors explored the marteloscope, observing, discussing, debating – sometimes passionately – the harvesting trade-offs we were considering in the exercise. Questions arose: how will our decisions affect stand biodiversity? How will the stand develop in the future if we harvest certain trees now? Are some microhabitats more important than others? What is biodiversity anyway? How much is that tree worth?
Faced with biodiversity loss, climate impacts, and changes in societal demands, forest owners and managers across Europe have started to use integrated forest management to address the trade-offs between multiple uses of forest ecosystems. Integrated forest management is a highly dynamic, multi-functional management approach with as many different strategies for implementation as there are different forest ecosystems in Europe. This flexibility was showcased in the final conference of the oForest project: “How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – a view across Europe” organized by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research (WSL) as well as European Forest Institute (EFI) and supported by the Swiss Federal Institute for the Environment (BAFU), the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and the Canton of Basel. The conference, held on November 9th-11th, 2020 as an online webinar, was named after the title of the upcoming oForest book publication, which compiles expertise of integrated forest management from over 150 authors.