Waldbrände in Kalifornien – von Reaktion zur Prävention?

In Kalifornien sind Waldbrände relativ normal und gehören zur natürlichen Kreislauf der Vegetation. Zurzeit nehmen sie aber – selbst für kalifornische Bedingungen und vor allem für die Jahreszeit – extreme Ausmaße an, berichtete heute das WDR-Magazin Quarks in seinem Beitrag Waldbrände in Kalifornien – wie man vorbeugen kann. Gleich mehrere Flächenbrände wüten im Bundesstaat, über 6.700 Hektar Land und fast 7000 Häuser sind bereits abgebrannt. Mit Malibu ist auch ein Prominenten-Viertel von Los Angeles betroffen. Etwa 8.000 Feuerwehrleute sind im Einsatz, und US-Präsident Donald Trump beschuldigt ihn seinen Tweets sowohl die Privatwaldbesitzer als auch den amerikanischen Forest Service, dass dieser Präventionsmaßnahmen unterlassen habe und deswegen eine Mitschuld an den Waldbränden trage.

Die Autorin des Beitrags, Wissenschaftsjournalistin Anne Preger, hat unseren EFI-Waldbrandexperten Alexander Held zu Brandursachen, zur Arbeit des US Forest Service, und zu langfristig nötigen Präventionsmaßnahmen befragt.

Pregers differenzierten, ca. 7-minütigen Beitrag kann man hier hören.

Darüber hinaus wurde Alexander Held auch live per Skype einer Sendung des Online-Journals BILD Aktuell der BILD Zeitung zugeschaltet. Ab ca. Minute 17 ist das Interview mit Held hier zu sehen.

 

Experiences of uneven-aged forest management in the Czech Republic

by Pavel Bednář, Andreas Schuck and Alexander Held

Risks to our forests are increasing due to climate change and its consequences. Recently, we have seen a raising number of wind storms, wildfire and bark beetle outbreaks. Thus there is a need to find feasible options to adapt forest management to such developments. Especially homogeneous coniferous forest stands both in tree species composition and age have shown to become vulnerable.

On the 25th and 26th of October 2018 Pro Silva Bohemica invited forest and nature conservation managers, researchers, forest owners and policy representatives from the Czech Republic and other European countries including Austria, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland to share their experiences on transforming pure even-aged Norway spruce stands into uneven-aged mixed forests. Around 110 participants attended the conference in Fryšava pod Žákovou horou about 2 hours’ south-east of Prague. The importance of both the topic and the workshop was underlined by the official patronage of Miroslav Toman, the Czech Minister of Agriculture.

Discussions on impacts of silvicultural interventions: the Falkenberg Marteloscope

from Andreas Schuck and Loic Duchamp

In the beautiful autumn forest in Vosges du Nord – Forêt de Bitche, France, we organized a training session with 44 foresters from public and private forests on 18th and 19th of October 2018. The Marteloscope ‘Falkenberg’ was set up in the course of European Forest Institute’s Integrate+ project, and it is located on state forest land in a Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park (French part of the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Vosges du Nord–Pfälzerwald). 60%, or 76.283 ha of the park are covered by forest, composed of 58% broadleaves and 42% conifers.

One main conservation objective in that nature reserve is to increase forest naturalness. This is achieved by designating strictly protected areas and preserving or restoring forest composition and potential habitats in managed forests.

Buchpräsentation: Das Trittsteinkonzept – Naturschutz-integrative Waldbewirtschaftung schützt die Vielfalt der Waldarten

Das Thema Waldnaturschutz spaltet Waldschützer und Waldnutzer. Dabei sollten gerade diese an einem Strang ziehen und im Interesse der Waldökologie zusammenarbeiten. Es reicht nicht aus, 5% der Waldfläche Deutschlands aus der Nutzung zu nehmen. Schutzmaßnahmen für unsere Waldarten müssen auch auf den restlichen 95% gewährleistet werden. Das sogenannte ‘Trittsteinkonzept’ ist dafür ein guter Weg –  und die Elemente des Konzepts lassen sich in allen Wäldern umsetzen.

Ecoclimate teleconnections: the globalization of plants

You thought that humans were the only species that can affect areas far away from where they live? Think again. The forests in India might be the culprits of the rainy days you are having in Germany now.

Recent research has shown that forests and vegetation in general can control the weather across great distances, making the forests and climate even more interconnected than previously thought according to an article published in Quantamagazine. Plants, especially trees, are fascinating organisms: they pump up water from the soil to the atmosphere and simultaneously grab carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into themselves and soils. The features that make this transportation possible are tiny pores on the leaves’ surface, called the stomata. One leaf can have more than one million stomata. So in a large forest the number of stomata is stratospheric and the amount of water they pump can be trillions of liters!

The growing group of researchers studying the interactions between vegetation and climate can now estimate how a forest loss or gain in a certain area can sway the weather patterns in others. One of these scientists is Professor Abigail Swann, the head of the Ecoclimate Lab in the University of Washington. In her recent studies, she has found the teleconnection: the plant communities around the globe are connected by the atmospheric mechanics. Essentially, the effect is similar to that of El Niño, where the warm surface water in the East Pacific Ocean causes heavy rains in South America and Africa as well as drought in Southeast Asia and Australia.

Forest risks in India: drought and extreme heat

“With drought and heat posing individual threats [to forests], there is also the looming threat of frequent ‘double whammies’ of drought and heat: concurrent drought and heatwaves, across India and the globe”, says a recent Nature study introduced by science writer Sandhya Sekar on the conservation and environmental science news platform Mongobay.

According to Sekar, “the response of vegetation to a combination of drought and stress is complex, ranging from short-lived local mortality events to regional-scale forest die-offs. A variety of forest types have shown mortality in the face of concurrent heat and drought: dry savannas which are adapted to seasonal rainfall, coniferous forests with a Mediterranean climate to tropical rainforests.”

Irish Marteloscopes: exploring new cooperation opportunities

by Ted Wilson

The Annual Pro Silva Ireland forestry tour 2018 was heading towards Obernai, France where the French National Forest Office’s (ONF) silviculture trainer Marc-Etienne Wilhelm hosted the “Irish forestry invasion” for 3 days. A total of 27 members of Pro Silva Ireland participated in the tour, indicating the strength of interest in continuous cover forestry (CCF) among Irish foresters, forest ecologists and woodland owners at the present time.

As a participant in the tour, I (Ted Wilson) took the opportunity to extend my travels and visit the Martelscope training sites at Mooswald and Rosskopf, near Freiburg, Black Forest, Germany. My work is based at the Teagasc Forestry Development Department, Ashtown Research Centre, and at the School of Agriculture and Food Science (Forestry Section), University College Dublin, both in Dublin, Ireland. My current research focuses on CCF, and my main project is called TranSSFor. This deals with the transformation of Sitka spruce plantations to continuous cover forestry. Related to silvicultural and production objectives of the research project is the issue of training, which was the focus of a highly productive meeting with Alex Held and Andreas Schuck, who are with the European Forest Institute.

Wuthering heights – how to manage storms in forests?

by Andreas Schuck, Alexander Held, Christoph Hartebrodt, Laura Nikinmaa, and Jakob Hörl

When storms are expected to become more frequent and violent, how can we ensure a flourishing future for our forests and the people who depend on them? This was one of the main questions that the SURE project workshop “Res2Storm – pan-European Workshop on Wind, Storms, and Forests” aimed at answering. The objective was to map operational tools and processes for coping with storm events along the crisis management cycle. Emphasis was given to the phases ‘recovery’, ‘prevention/mitigation’ and ‘preparedness’, not neglecting adequate ‘response’. The workshop was hosted by Christoph Hartebrodt and his team from the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg (FVA) in Freiburg, Germany, on the 11-12th of October 2018. It was the first in a series of thematic workshops within the SURE project dealing with forest risks. It brought together 35 participants from 13 European countries with backgrounds in science, policy and practice.

Future global forest governance: Learning across generations

This summer, office temperatures soared, the fan was blowing full throttle and my afternoon ice cream melted faster than I could eat it. I was not the only one under severe heat stress though. As I looked from my office window, I could see that the consistently high temperatures had affected trees and vegetation. Leaves had changed color and treetops looked thinner. The dry and hot weather in Germany and beyond since May also made forest fires inevitable. This year all of Europe suffered from peat and forest fires that started earlier and burned for longer than normal.

These are worrisome observations for me as individual and as junior scientist. Given the scale of deforestation and forest degradation globally, which is one underlying cause of rising emissions and a changing global climate, I feel uncertain about what and how my contribution could look like in addressing an issue of the scale of deforestation and forest degradation.

I feel the urgency to act when I observe consequences of 1°C of global warming, but also because in the future, we will be more people on our planet. More people who require food, jobs and strive for higher living conditions. This will add even more pressure on forest ecosystems and possibly cause further degradation. To interrupt this vicious circle and to make forests more resilient to these threats globally, I think we need to have a rules-based framework at the global level that addresses these challenges effectively. Something that gives guidance and regulates any illegal, destructive and harmful activities that affect forests – and ultimately us.

SURE Projekt “on tour”: Waldbrand-Reise nach Brandenburg

von Martin Schmitt, Andreas Schuck und Alexander Held

Zwei der zahlreichen Brände in der Saison 2018 erfuhren besondere Aufmerksamkeit: Treuenbrietzen und Fichtenwalde bei Beelitz in Südbrandenburg. In Treuenbrietzen mussten drei Ortschaften geräumt. In Fichtenwalde wurde es notwendig, zwei Autobahnen (A9/A10) zu sperren. Die Situation wurde zusätzlich dadurch erschwert, dass beide Waldbrandflächen munitionsbelastet waren.

Im Rahmen einer Schulung für die “Berliner Feuerwehr Einsatzbereitschaft 4” waren wir (Andreas Schuck und Alexander Held vom EFI) in Berlin-Brandenburg unterwegs.