“When we pay attention to nature’s music, we find that everything on earth contributes to its harmony.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan
Twenty first century cities are characterized by tall skyscrapers, high residential densities, improved public transport infrastructure, as well as buildings of historical heritage. More people are moving from rural to urban areas, with the proportion of global urban population set to increase from 14% in 1900 to over 66% in 2025.
It is unfortunate that despite this trend, many urban areas lack adequate green infrastructure thus the ratio of green areas to built up areas is low. This gives inhabitants the feeling that they live in a ‘concrete jungle’ and are divorced from the natural world, contrary to earlier times when trees had a dominant influence upon human life and were sacred in many cultures.
„Don’t underestimate the ability of children to help drive change!“Jo Sayers (The Mersey Forest)
Urban forests serve as a biodiversity hub and enhance resilience to environmental changes. As one of the most significant ecosystems for CO2 reduction from the atmosphere, forests do not only mitigate climate change. They also increase societal benefits, improve the quality of life and shelter the declining species of manifold flora and fauna. To spread this knowledge and to preserve and restore forest ecosystems, education for sustainable development is key.
The North remembers! Or does it? Winter was coming when I traveled to Scandinavia this January to conduct interviews on integrated forest management. For those less familiar with forestry jargon, this term describes a forest management characterized at attaining multiple outputs from the same forest, sometimes even the same stand. The term is very broad and needs to be specified further before it can be applied. In the case of the INFORMAR project, on which I will write here, we assess the application of nature conservation measures into forestry.
A workshop took place at the Agriculture and Food Development Authority (Teagasc), Oak Park, Carlow in Ireland mid-February 2019 to allow for a professional exchange on how Marteloscopes are used for training and education. Around 15 workshop participants representing Teagasc, Coillte, the Forestry Division of the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine (DAFM), the Irregular Silviculture Network (ISN) and EFI discussed the potential for cooperation involving both new Irish Marteloscopes sites and those of the existing Marteloscope network.
During the meeting of the European Network Integrate in Toruń, Poland, Sanna Kasurinen, from the Finnish Forest Centre, presented the METSO-programme, an initiative aiming to halt the ongoing decrease of biodiversity of forest habitats and species in Finnish forests. The Forest Biodiversity Programme in particular addresses private forest owners. The overall objective is that based on a voluntary agreement, nature conservation is enhanced and communication improved on biodiversity of forest habitats and ecosystem services amongst stakeholders.
What does a scientist think when an artist is trying to express his/her creativity? And, what does an artist create when he/she wants to represent a scientific concept?
“XXII Triennale di Milano Broken Nature: Design takes on Human Survival” is a thematic exhibition in the heart of the city of Milan, put into effect by the Triennale Milano. It is the right place to find possible answers to the questions above, to get inspired and fully immersed into it. Artists, designers and architects, from all over the world exhibit their interpretations of the connection and inter-relation between nature and humans.
Since the 1st of April 2019, the School Forest Enterprise ‘Masaryk Forest’ of Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic has a new director, Prof. Dr. Tomáš Vrška. He is an instrumental person in forest policy who supported the EFI Risk Facility Initiative. Thanks to his snewr position, the Risk Facility network will have now also access to Brno University, the related forest enterprise and to the forestry contacts in the country. This development is of key value in the face of the bark beetle outbreak which has also affected Czech Republic.
Dr.Vrška had been working for a long time as a head of department of forest ecology within the Research Institute ‘Silva Taroucy’ and partly as an academic staff member at the Department of Silviculture (Faculty of Forestry and Wood Technology) at Mendel University in Brno, where he obtained his habilitation in the field of silviculture. He had also earlier worked as the head of forest care in National Park Podyjí.
What had already been predicted in 2018, became true.
Spring is too warm and too dry, again. The year 2019 had a hot start: during the first four months, more areas have been burned than during the entire 2018 across Europe. The Joint Research Centre’s European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) of the EU Science Hub recorded 1233 fires corresponding to a burned area of more than 250 000 ha by the end of April. In comparison, there were 1192 fires burning 181 000 ha during the whole 2018.
Voices of Resilience introduces Claudia Bieling, who holds the Chair of Societal Transition and Agriculture at the University of Hohenheim, Germany. Her work is rooted in transdisciplinary sustainability research and focuses on the interface of ecological and social dimensions in land-use and food systems.
For a young professional in the field of forestry, reading the news nowadays is a schizophrenic experience. On one hand, I’m scared to death with the heat waves and drought occurring at odd times of the year, continuously increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, alien species invasions in new areas and massive insect outbreaks in various parts of Europe. On the other hand, it is very exciting and hopeful: climate change awareness is increasing, and actions are being taken, wood product innovations are replacing many fossil-fuel based ones, and biodiversity conservation measures are adopted by many forest managers. Nevertheless, we are facing a serious situation that cannot be fixed with few tricks. With the disturbance frequency and intensity increasing all the time, we need to revise how we manage the risks they are causing to our forests.