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Tag: forest policy

Forests do not end at national borders – how can united knowledge help Europe’s forests?

This is a report made by three representatives from the International Forestry Students’ Association during their voluntary work for the HLPD 2023 organization.

On November 9, government representatives and practitioners from all over Europe came together in Berlin for the second FOREST EUROPE High-Level Talks to address one question: How can sustainable forest management help make Europe’s forests more resilient to the consequences of climate change?

For those who don’t know, FOREST EUROPE is a pan-European forest policy process at the ministerial level in which guidelines, criteria, and indicators of sustainable forest management are developed. And we had the opportunity to be the youth representatives.

What have we seen? What are the bullet points we, the Youth, take from this day full of panel discussions? This is our perspective on the topic of „growing healthier forests“ and the efforts the government representatives make in their countries.

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Cyprus ResAlliance’s LandLab launch: initiating a participatory integrated landscape-resilience strategy for the island

The participatory approach of EUC-CERIDES (Centre of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences of the European University of Cyprus) for the Cyprus LandLab has been an opportunity to lay the foundations for an integrated landscape resilience strategy in Cyprus, under the kind auspices of the Honourable Commissioner for Environment of the Republic of Cyprus; Dr. Maria Panagiotou.

The Centre of Excellence in Risk and Decision Sciences of the European University Cyprus, is the Cypriot Partner of the pan-European Consortium project “ResAlliance – Landscape Resilience Knowledge-Alliance for Agriculture and Forestry in the Mediterranean Basin, funded by the European Commission and coordinated by EFI – European Forest Institute, with a strong Euro-Mediterranean emphasis.

ResAlliance’s “LandNet” is a Mediterranean alliance on landscape resilience for forestry and agriculture. By engaging and training farmers, foresters, and other key stakeholders, the LandNet will continuously identify new cooperation and networks to improve and increase knowledge and good practises while also delivering an extensive range of easy-to-access material. Through the LandNet, ResAlliance will engage and train farmers, foresters, and other key stakeholders for the knowledge transfer of managerial, technological, financial, or governance solutions.

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Connecting nature conservation and forest management

Why the best exchange of knowledge&experiences about forests usually happens in the forest

Have you ever heard of the ADAPT Project, a project implemented by IUCN to increase ecosystem and community resilience to climate change and disaster risks by applying Nature-based solutions in the Western Balkans? I in fact haven’t, until recently I met some of the project partners when the Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECARO) of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) organized in collaboration with diverse partners and country representatives from the Balkan region a four-day study tour to Bonn. The tour had the goal to exchange experiences and knowledge of nature-based solutions that may find application to the Western Balkan region.    

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Integrative forest management requires integrative solutions

Good practices for engaging different perspectives on forests. Register now for the next Integrate Webinar!

How can we manage our forests in the best way – both beneficial for nature and people? How can we integrate different forest functions and ecosystem services, and address trade-offs in forest management? What can we do to improve the communication and knowledge exchange between stakeholders who have “skin in the game” and potentially conflicting interests?

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How does the European Union make forest policy decisions?

Written by Helga Pülzl

When thinking about the European Union, we can get the impression that policymaking is complicated, distant, and not relevant to citizens in the EU member states. Think about forest policy. Isn’t it true that forest-related policy decisions are made in our own parliaments guided by our elected politicians only? Well, not really. The decision process is more complicated than that.  

Around 80% of the decisions relevant to the environment are now taken at the EU level. Despite all member states having strong forest legislation in place, many topics like nature and biodiversity protection, or climate change are policy areas where the European Union takes collective action.

However, decision-making at the European level differs substantially from that at the national level. National policy advisers, their ministers, and European Parliamentarians collaborate with the European Commission to agree on shared policy aims and decide on new forest-related policies and regulations.

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Investigating links between trade and biodiversity

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? 

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How to create a new European science-policy-society interface for forests and forestry? Uncomfortable knowledge might help

Are scientists and policymakers getting too comfortable when generating and applying forest-related data and knowledge? What conditions can take them out of their comfort zones to generate more interdisciplinary research and policies that are both legitimate and representative? The politics of knowledge around forests was a topic of heated debate at this year’s International Forest Policy Meeting (27-29 April 2022), with the session on “Science-Policy-Society interactions within Europe ending with a provocative call for the production and use of so-called “uncomfortable knowledge”.

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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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