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?
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.
You are invited to take part in our new “Monthly Forest Restoration Talks”, hosted by the SUPERB project in partnership with IUFRO‘s Task Force ‘Transforming Forest Landscapes for Future Climates and Human Well-Being’.
Targeting researchers, practitioners, NGOs, policy makers and other interested stakeholders, the webinar series will investigate forest restoration questions from diverse scientific perspectives, with alternating focus on the global and European levels. This includes exploring practical forest restoration approaches, experiences and challenges worldwide.
Taking place on Wednesday, 9 November from 16:00-17:30 CET, the first webinar features forest restoration specialist John Stanturf as a speaker, discussing the topic “If nature is the solution, what is the problem? A perspective from forest landscape restoration”.
This 3rd of October is World Habitat Day! To celebrate the occasion, Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of Resilience Programme at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and coordinator of the SUPERB project, explained the importance of “prestoration” – the combination of restoration and climate adaptation – for resilient and functional forest habitats. She discussed how it differs from classical restoration approaches, highlighted its relevance to the new EU Nature Restoration Law and listed concrete examples of how prestoration is being applied within the SUPERB demonstration areas in Germany and in the Czech Republic.
Watch the video interview on YouTube or read it below!
The discussions focused on how Sustainable Forest Management can maintain and enhance biodiversity, ensuring forest ecosystem services. In addition, the board headed by the deputy…
Interview by Gesche Schifferdecker & Rosa Castañeda
Dr. Gerhard Langenberger is an expert on sustainable land use policy working at giz, the German Corporation for International Cooperation. Before joining giz, Gerhard coordinated two large international joint research projects dealing with natural rubber for the University of Hohenheim. We talked about his field of expertise – natural rubber – and learned why discussions on deforestation didn’t play a dominant role in the rubber sector in the past. Furthermore, we wanted to find out about the challenges and opportunities for smallholder farmers in Asian countries as well as for international forest governance – and about the local and the international environment influence each other. We also explored responsibilities for companies and potential incentives for manufacturers to use materials from fair trade and sustainable sources. Finally, we learned what “deforestation-free” actually means – and how we as consumers can influence the market to reduce land degradation and support sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.
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.
Forest biodiversity is under pressure in some regions of Europe due to climate change, landscape fragmentation, pollution, and unsustainable forest management practices. But, how will…
Establishing the first marteloscope in an Urban Forest and discovering the transition of Gelsenkirchen
How do marteloscopes – these forest demonstration sites, where all trees are mapped and measured – and Gelsenkirchen, a city located in the so-called Ruhrpott fit together? You might be surprised that after being known as the “City of Thousand Fires” characterised by the coal, iron, and steel industry, and being a target of several air raids during World War II, Gelsenkirchen went through different economic and social changes. To boost its attractiveness for citizens, the city is now “shaping” its sustainability, investing in solar energy and converting numerous former mining sites into small city parks and urban forests . The city of Gelsenkirchen is also a partner in the CLEARINGHOUSE project, which connects China and Europe and explores the potential of Urban Forests for more liveable cities. And as part of this big international project, we – four researchers from European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office – established two new marteloscopes in the Urban Forest in Gelsenkirchen. This was not only an interesting experience because they were the first marteloscope sites we set up in urban forests, but also because of the vegetation and the fact, that these forests are not used for wood production.
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.