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Resilience Blog Posts

Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects

What does climate change adaptation look like in Southern France? Is there anything we – in Central Europe – can learn from our colleagues in the South? Is risk management an issue there and do forest risk experts know the European Forest Risk Facility?

These were the questions – among others – that I had before attending the international symposium “Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects” on 19-20 November 2019 in Toulouse, France.

The symposium was organized by the FORECCAST project, partially funded through the EU LIFE project,  aiming to provide Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park producers and forest managers with means to build a forest management strategy that takes into account the impact of climate change. Goal of the project is to raise awareness of the challenges posed by global change among stakeholders, elected representatives and the general public within that region.

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EU forests after Brexit – future scenarios from four years ago

Before the Brexit referendum four years ago, when much of the media buzz revolved around the uncertain future of trade, immigration and stock markets, at the European Forest Institute we discussed its potential impact on forests and forest-related policy.

Even though there is no EU forest policy, there are a number of other policy instruments that directly or indirectly affect forests and their management. These range from the EU Timber Regulation or the EU Birds and Habitats Directives over the FLEGT and REDD programmes to the Common Agriculture Policy, all of which could be impacted by a possible Brexit.

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How and why prescribed burning mitigates bushfire losses

by Neil Burrows and Rick Sneeuwjagt

Considerable publicity is recently being given to an article by titled “Why prescribed burns don’t stop wildfires” (published in Sydney Morning Herald, in New Matilda, and also WAToday on 22 January 2020), written by a botanist and a molecular biologist from Curtin University in Western Australia. They argue against the use of fuel reduction burning in bushfire management because it does not “stop bushfires”.

The article worries us, because in our opinion it could give rise to dangerous fire management policies, a continuation of the cycle of devastating bushfires in Australia, and to further losses of lives and beautiful forests.

Thus we decided to write a reply to the publication, to clarify some facts and spread important information on prescribed burning based on scientific research and practical experience.

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Wer ist schuld am Waldsterben?! Eine deutsche Debatte

Der derzeitige Zustand der Wälder in Deutschland wird hitzig in den Medien diskutiert, besonders in 2019, da Waldschäden erstmals großflächig auch für das ungeübte Auge sichtbar wurden. Die Debatte scheint dabei zu einem Schauplatz des verhärteten Konflikts von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft zu werden, den wir schon seit Jahrzehnten immer wieder in den Medien beobachten. Tippt man die Begriffe „Waldschäden“ oder „Wald im Klimawandel“ in eine Suchmaschine ein, wird man überschüttet mit zahllosen Artikeln, Kommentaren, Positionspapieren und Blogeinträgen verschiedener Einzelpersonen und Institutionen. Um die Struktur der Debatte und die Argumentation der unterschiedlichen Positionen zu verstehen, habe ich einen genaueren Blick auf den medialen Diskurs geworfen. Hierbei habe ich vor allem die Erzählstränge von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft, die Herleitung ihres Standpunktes und die jeweilige Rhetorik untersucht. Um die Fülle an Publikationen zu diesem Thema zu bewältigen, habe ich repräsentative Akteure von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft ausgewählt und ihre Onlinepräsenz und Publikationen untersucht. Natürlich handelt es sich bei den Ergebnissen um eine Verallgemeinerung, die nicht jedem einzelnen Akteur gerecht zu werden vermag. Dennoch zeigte sich ein interessantes Muster des Diskurses. 

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“Unser Wald im Klimawandel” – Kurzfilm zur Waldbewirtschaftung in NRW

Die Landesregierung NRW hat einen kurzen Film veröffentlicht, in dem der Zustand unserer Wälder in NRW näher beleuchtet wird. Dabei geht es auch um die kurz- sowie langfristigen Maßnahmen des NRW-Umweltministeriums, um diesen Zustand zu verbessern.

Ein Drittel der Fläche von NRW ist mit Wäldern bedeckt. Diese werden nach dem forstlichen Nachhaltigkeitsprinzip bewirtschaftet, aber die durch den Klimawandel ausgelösten Veränderungen stellen große Schwierigkeiten für die Forstwirtschaft dar. Dazu gehören vor allem Stürme, Trockenheit und Borkenkäfer, aber auch viele andere Herausforderungen.

Im Video werden kurz- sowie langfristige Hilfen für die Waldbesitzer vorgestellt – und viele weitere Informationen und digitale Karten über unsere Wälder sind auf dem neuen Waldinfo-Portal https://www.waldinfo.nrw.de/ zu finden.

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Bushfires, Wildfires and Damaging fires – Rinse and Repeat or Risk Reduction and Resilience?

Dr. Peter F. Moore, Forestry Officer, Forest Fire Management & Disaster Risk Reduction, in the FAO-Forestry Department originates from Australia and posted the following statement in response to the ongoing wildfire crisis:

“In January 1994 there were four fire related deaths, hundreds of thousands of hectares burnt and fingers of fire crept into the city of Sydney.

  • Parliament, the cabinet and the coroner held inquiries and released reports on the reasons, causes of death and the possible means of avoiding the same problems in the future.

On Christmas Day 2001, the concerns of fire authorities in New South Wales were realised – in full measure. The lead-up to summer conditions had been drier than normal. December 25, 2001 was hot with temperatures well over 30C; very low humidity of less than 15 per cent; and winds from the west. These bush fires burnt nearly 700,000ha, with 115 houses and many other buildings destroyed and scores of others damaged.

  • And Parliament and the coroner held inquiries and released reports on the reasons and the causes …
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The potential of recovering degraded pine forests

by Alessandra Lagomarsino

Did you know that worldwide forests each year absorb 30% of the CO2 emitted globally by fossil fuels and are huge carbon sinks, thus contributing to climate change mitigation and storing carbon in different pools (i.e., biomass, soil, dead organic matter, or litter)? However, when a forest is degraded with many dead, fallen and damaged trees, it does not remove enough CO2 from the atmosphere to compensate the emissions due to the decomposition of dead trees and soil organic matter.

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Milano Calling 2019

One year ago, in November 2018 the largest global gathering of urban forestry expertise descended on the medieval town of Mantova in northern Italy for the first World Forum on Urban Forestry (WFUF) The Forum was a place for sharing at the policy and practice level and also a platform to launch actions on ‘How Trees will save Cities’. With the momentum generated a WFUF permanent committee was established spearheaded by FAO, SISEF and the Politecnio di Milano.  One year later, and in partnership with Triennale Milano and the Comune di Milano two days of ideas and actions for new cities and countries around the world was held at the Triennale Milano in the beautiful wooded parkland of Parco Sempione. Milano Calling 2019 was more than a follow up event but also the opportunity to identify the next steps in various initiatives including the ‘Great Green Wall of Cities’ an initiative which traverses the drylands of China, the Middle East and large parts of Africa.

EFI were represented by Clive Davies, Senior Researcher, Advisor and Facilitator (IHC) on Urban Forestry at the Governance and Resilience Programme, European Forest Institute (EFI Bonn). Of particular significance was to tie in the Europe – China, CLEARING HOUSE Research and Innovation Action (RIA) which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847441 which EFI coordinates with the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) in Beijing.

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Networks of trust – the foundation for wildfire management

Written by Laura Nikinmaa & Maria Schlossmacher

Imagine having a team of chefs cooking Eggs Benedict. One of them has only ever made omelets; the other one has all the ingredients but no recipe. The third one knows how to do it, but they have been forbidden to cook anything else than scrambled eggs by the owner of the restaurant. On top of everything, they are not talking to one another because they are all competing for promotion. The outcome? You guessed it, anything but Eggs Benedict, the restaurant owner is enraged, and none of the chefs gets a promotion.

While the restaurant world is known to be fiery, the actual world of wildfires is straight up in flames. We have seen abnormally active fire season in 2019 in many countries. Poland had almost three times more fires compared to the 10-year average this year, Germany more than five times more, and France more than seven times more (EFFIS). The cherry on top was the United Kingdom, which had eight times more fires in 2019 than in the 10-year average. It was therefore fitting that the SURE project workshop (“pro-active fire management”) was organized back to back with the England and Wales Wildfire Forum’s (EWWF) Wildfire Conference from 20th to 22nd of November in Cardiff, Wales. The EWWF conference had more than 180 participants from 14 different countries, out of which almost 50 stayed to participate in the SURE workshop on the 22nd. The theme of the conference was “Manage the fuel – Reduce the Risk”. The speakers consisted of experts from practice and research, from fire and rescue services to forest administrates, and the topics varied from practical examples to the latest knowledge we have on wildfire behavior.

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