Out of office: marteloscope training in Bonn

The network of marteloscopes, which was started during the Integrate+ project, is continuously expanding in terms of sites and users. On April 12th, Andreas Schuck from European Forest Institute led a marteloscope exercise in the Jägerhäuschen marteloscope in Kottenforst near Bonn, assisted by me. The training session was organised in cooperation with the local forest district Rhein-Sieg-Erft. Most of the twelve participants work for the BfN, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, but there were also two representatives of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

New York: Urban forestry for the next century

In New York City, urban forests are heavily used for recreation, reports the article A Plan for New York City’s Forests. Yes, Forests., recently published by The New York Times. Unfortunately, city forests in the Big Apple are at stake: Due to climate change and invasive species that can change soil conditions, they risk losing wildlife and plants. A nonprofit group called the Natural Areas Conservancy therefore focuses on how to prepare the city’s forests for a changing climate, supposing that urban forests will be affected a generation or two before differences begin to appear in rural areas. This involves planting tree species resilient to climate change and – of course – requires financial investment. “Now, in close consultation with the Parks Department, the conservancy has prepared a long-term plan for the care of the city’s forests, what it says is the first of its kind in the nation. The conservancy is eager to export it and is training other nonprofit groups in the city to use data from the survey to their advantage”, states the article. More information on how the future urban forest should look like you will find here.

Reducing wildfires in the countryside: Workshop in Ireland

Workshop meeting to collect input for the Northern Irish Vegetation Fire Strategy

45 participants from across Ireland, all of them highly interested in vegetation fire, held a workshop meeting on 20-21 March 2018 in Belfast. The event was also attended by a number of international fire experts and specialists from the UK, Spain, Germany and the US: Chuck Bushey, former president of IAWF; Michael Bruce, Vice Chair of Scottish Wildfire Forum; Rob Gazzard, UK Forestry Commission Fire Adviser; Craig Hope, Lead Wildfire Officer South Wales Fire Service; Simon Thorp, UK Heather Trust; Jordi Vendrell, fire weather and behavior analyst of the Pau Costa Foundation; Alexander Held, European Forest Risk Facility (hosted by European Forest Institute’s Bonn office).

Establishing a European Forest Risk Facility

From pests and insect damages to megafires and storm events – European forests are affected by diverse and often transnational disturbances, with profound impacts on forest ecosystem services and livelihoods. In response to these challenges the European Forest Institute (EFI) together with risk management stakeholders from all over Europe is establishing the European Forest Risk Facility, an innovative platform of exchange and knowledge transfer on forest disturbances, risk prevention and management. Connecting science, practice and policy, the constitution of the Risk Facility is one of the main objectives of the project SUstaining and Enhancing the REsilience of European Forests (SURE) coordinated by EFI’s Bonn Office. The Risk Facility collects and distributes data and information for a better understanding of forest risks and facilitates the exchange of good practices, ultimately enabling better-informed decisions in natural resource management and policy.

FSC und Greenpeace sind sich nicht grün

Ich finde, Greenpeace International und der Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) führen einen interessanten Dialog. Warum, werde ich im Folgenden ausführen:

Am 28.3.2018 hat Greenpeace-International seine Mitgliedschaft beim FSC-International auslaufen lassen, wie die Naturschutzorganisation mitteilte. Begründet wurde dieser Schritt mit der sehr ungleichen Umsetzung der FSC-Zertifizierung von Land zu Land und mit dem Versagen der FSC-Zertifizierung beim Schutz der Wälder. Insbesondere in Hoch-Risiko-Ländern leiste der FSC hier nicht genug, so Greenpeace. Die Naturschutzorganisation meint damit Länder, in denen Demokratie und Zivilgesellschaft schwach sind und in denen ein hohes Maß an Korruption herrscht. Greenpeace empfiehlt dennoch weiterhin die FSC-Zertifizierung, solange es sich um “FSC 100%” handelt – und nicht um “FSC-Mix” oder “FSC controlled wood” – und sich die zertifizierten Wälder nicht in Hochrisiko-Regionen befinden. PEFC und andere Zertifikate unterstützt Greenpeace nach wie vor nicht.

 “We must act to halt and reverse the unsustainable use of nature” – Now

By Theresa Frei & Johanna Strieck

“We must act to halt and reverse the unsustainable use of nature – or risk not only the future we want, but even the lives we currently lead”, says Sir Robert Watson – chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This is but one somber, yet realistic conclusion drawn from the most recent reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

By the end of March, IPBES approved four landmark science reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services for different regions of the world and published a report on land degradation and restoration worldwide. These reports, comparable to the IPCC reports on climate change, result from three years of work, involving more than 550 leading scientists from over 100 countries to assess the state of worldwide biodiversity and ecosystem services. The main findings draw a gloomy future, however not without mentioning the one or the other ray of hope.

Balancing ecological, economical and social interests in European forest

“How are different European countries dealing with Integrated Forest Management and which role do questions like tree composition, forest ownership, and expectations with regards to timber production play? What are the challenges regarding effective funding schemes for Integrated Forest Management, and why do we need payments for ecosystem services? How can we better communicate the advantages of Integrated Forest Management? Which tools can be used to further educate foresters, policy makers, and other relevant stakeholders? Following the invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic, we discussed these and more issues in the framework of the second meeting of the European Network INTEGRATE from 19-21 March 2018.

Together with more than 40 representatives of ministries, state forests and private forest owners, researchers and practitioners from 10 European countries, we spent three inspiring days in the Czech Republic. Most of the participants came from Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Croatia, Austria and  of course  the Czech Republic, and Italy was represented by a new network member from the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. Joining INTEGRATE for the first time, policy makers from Finland, Latvia and Belgium shared their countries’ approaches to forest management and the integration of nature protection in forest policy.

Turbulent times ahead – and an arc called European Forest Risk Facility?

Do you think that the weather during the last ten years or so has been wilder than during the good old days? Well, it is not just you! A study from European Academies’ Science Advisory Council (EASAC) shows that extreme weather events have become more frequent over the last 36 years. The increase in frequency can especially be seen in floods and other hydrological events, but also in storms and extreme temperatures, drought and forest fires. It is likely that we are just getting the appetizers and the main course of the more turbulent weather is yet to be served.

The increase in the frequency of the extreme weather events causes more threats to forests. Events that used to occur once in a hundred years might now happen once in a quarter century. Disturbances are also moving to new areas, as seen in the winter fires in Norway in 2014 or wind damages in Catalonian forests the same year. Local knowledge on how to deal with these events might be lacking, which can lead to high economic and sometimes even human losses.

What can be done then to mitigate these changes? In the European Forest Institute, we believe that exchanging the best available information and mutual learning between practice and science across borders is the most efficient way to adapt and deal with the extreme weather. Connecting expert knowledge and the ones in need of it is important in all the faces of crisis management: prevention, preparation, response and recovery.  The European Forest Risk Facility offers exactly that: bringing together experts from science and practice, exchanging knowledge and inspiring to learn new ways to manage forests in the face of more extreme weather. This also involves discussing and thus avoiding to repeat the failures that other have made before. If that happens, a failure can still become a “fantastic failure” to learn from – and the European Forest Risk Facility will provide a platform for that.

In the forest classroom

Foresters exploring the Rosskopf Marteloscope in cooperation with ConFoBi researchers

by Bettina Joa

ConFoBi (Conservation of Forest Biodiversity in Multiple-Use Landscapes of Central Europe) is a research project of the University of Freiburg and the Forest Research Institute Baden-Württemberg (FVA) that focuses on the effectiveness of structural retention measures for biodiversity conservation in multi-functional forests. Researchers work in a common pool of 135 study plots located in the Black Forest. In the course of ConFoBi’s yearly information event for foresters managing those forest areas that contain one of the 135 plots, a Marteloscope training exercise was conducted with 10 foresters from Forst-BW.

Frank Krumm (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL) and Andreas Schuck (European Forest Institute) introduced the Marteloscope concept as a training tool for thinning exercises revealing common challenges and trade-offs in integrative forest management. Marteloscopes are one hectare forest sites where all trees have been numbered, mapped and measured. With the help of the “I+”software that runs on mobile devices, trees can be virtually harvested and retained. Thereby the results of the individual tree selection, namely the ecological and economic consequences, can be immediately displayed, initiating discussions as well as learning processes.

Tree Planting with the Rotary Club

After the international network of the Rotary Club challenged each of its 1.2 million members to plant a tree, 10 clubs from the Bonn area contributed with planting 800 trees – and head of the EFI Bonn office Georg Winkel contributed a speech. On 17th of March 2018, the newest of the Rotary Clubs, RC Bonn International, led the initiative in the Kottenforst, in the Waldau vicinity.

Although temperatures dropped below zero again this past weekend, participants patiently listened to several short speeches and acknowledgements. Georg Winkel was asked to give a short presentation on the benefits of planting trees and their role for a sustainable future. Afterwards, the local forester Sebastian Korintenberg gave some brief instructions for the right planting technique. After everyone was clear on what to do, people had a lot of fun planting the young copper beeches over the course of several hours.

Check out the whole event in pictures here.