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.
Slovakia, as a member of the Network INTEGRATE, established two new Martelescope sites at the end of the year 2018.
by Eva Hušťáková
The sites are located very close to Bratislava city, at a specific locality with the name „Devínska kobyla” in the Little Carpathian Mountains. The area is managed by the forest state enterprise LESY Slovenskej republiky, branch Smolenice. Forest managers selected two types of stands: predominantly beech and oak. The two sites are only a few kilometres away from each other, at an altitude of 300 m and 340 m above sea level. Both forests are more than 100 years old. Experts from our National Forest Centre in Zvolen realized measuring of all trees on a rectangular square of 100x100m. Consequently, they identified microhabitats on all trees according to the reference field list, which is part of the tree microhabitats catalogue developed by the European Forest Institute (Kraus et al. 2016). The total number of trees was 203 in the beech plot and 409 in the oak plot.
A science-policy event jointly organized by European Forest Institute’s ThinkForest and Forest Europe is planned for April 2019 in Prague to raise awareness about forest disturbance threats in European forests among policy makers, the media and the general public in Europe, underlining the importance of risk prevention efforts and management for enhanced forest resilience. The event will advocate for a European Forest Risk Facility and seeks to gather political support to place forest disturbance management high on the agenda of the next Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe. The event will be used to launch the EFI Multi Donor Trust Fund for Policy Support funded Bark Beetle study. Back to back with this science-policy event, EFI’s SURE project will organize (with support from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague) a capacity building workshop on the practical implementation of risk management of biotic threats.
These were the main outcomes from the informal coordination meeting “Adapting European forests to climate-change-driven risks: science – policy interface” between EFI and Forest Europe, which took place in Zvolen, Slovakia on August 27-28. The objective was to discuss the cooperation between the institutions related to the increasing challenges of forest disturbances in Europe.