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…
Tag: biodiversity conservation
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.
Whether it be a huge European bison or an obscure saproxylic beetle, all forest species have specific and unique requirements for conservation. While some may thrive in wood production forests with integrated conservation strategies, others may require segregated forests with little or no intervention. It is clear that the choice between an integrated or segregated conservation strategy is not black-and-white and an agreement must be made that places importance on both. But the question is where and how should segregation be integrated into forest management? And what roles do forest managers and owners have in this task?
First international assessment of the protection state of mostly ‘untouched’ forests in Europe
Halle/Berlin. An expansion of the protected areas by only about 1% would sufficiently protect most remaining primary forests in Europe. This is one of the main results of the study on Protection gaps and restoration opportunities for primary forests in Europe conducted by an international team led by researchers from the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU). The study, published in the paper Diversity and Distribution, is the first assessment of the conservation status of Europe’s primary forests. It identifies protection gaps and areas with restoration needs to reach conservation targets. In addition, it provides valuable information how to implement the new EU Biodiversity Strategy.
Integrate Webinar: Green Deal’s perspectives on forests and forestry in the time of Covid and Greta
On 24 June, the Integrate Network facilitated by the European Forest Institute organised the first Integrate Webinar. The webinar focused on the European Green Deal and its impacts on forest management and protection in Europe, with a special focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation into sustainable forest management – which is the main focus of the Network.