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Resilience Blog Posts

An Orwellian debate on the national parks in Slovakia: What can a scientist do in a post-truth era?

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.

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The silent suffering of trees during the 2018 heatwave

New Nature Communication on the impact of the 2018 heatwave on trees growing across Central and Atlantic Europe published

Article by Ute Sass-Klaassen, Roberto L. Salomon, Georg von Arx, Kathy Steppe, Patrick Fonti, Roman Zweifel, Richard Peters, and Marcus Lindner

With the DenDrought2018 initiative, an international team of researchers is now able to tell a story about drought stress from the perception of 21 tree species across Europe. Results of their joint effort have now been published in Nature Communications under the title “The 2018 European heatwave led to stem dehydration but not to consistent growth reductions in forests” (doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27579-9)

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Visit our new RESONATE web site!

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new RESONATE website. Now you can visit our home page, specially designed to offer the information you need about the resilience of European forests and associated value chains, and the project’s latest updates.

Our approach consists in offering customized information according to RESONATE’s different focal audiences, making it easier for you to navigate through the pages and find what you need.

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A week in the life of a marteloscopist

The morning sky is still pitch black when the alarm goes off. I wake up in a hotel room on a grey busy rainy road in a post-industrial town in southern Luxembourg. Hitting the snooze button is not an option; daylight is scarce in late November and we should really reach the forest at dawn. There is still time for a sad corona-proof breakfast though, that is to be consumed in the hotel room. Crackers, instant coffee, jam, all individually packed in plastic of course. What is good for hygiene is not necessarily good for the environment.

Before sunrise, my colleague and I get to the site of our next marteloscope. The morning fog reduces the visibility to almost nothing, but luckily our memory manages to lead us back to the place we had visited with the local forester a month earlier. Despite the dense undergrowth we had managed to survey the perimeter of the square one-hectare stand in October, but not without cutting much of the regeneration along the borders that were obstructing the view and the functioning of our measurement equipment. A tedious effort, but one less task this week. Last time the foliage was still too dense to measure heights or spot tree microhabitats. Now that most of the leaves have fallen, we can continue the inventory. Yesterday we were still in the far north of this little country, to finish precisely those tasks for the previous site. Now we are ready to wrap up the inventory of the final marteloscope in Luxembourg.

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Disturbances, forests, and people: operating the world of forest resilience

In recent weeks, the RESONATE project’s Twitter has explored different definitions for forest resilience. Some of them sounded rather similar, some very different and all of them might have left the reader with more questions: “But what does this mean in practice?”. Armed with coffee and cookies, I’ll try to enlighten the mysterious and sometimes headache-inducing world of resilience.

To make some sense of the different definitions, it is good to remember that they are rarely completely new and innovative but are based on some previous definitions from which they have been further developed. That is why some of them sound very similar but with some notable differences.

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Enable the enabler – when kids become knowledge MULTIPLIERS

„Base decision on facts, not on beliefs” – Kick-off Meeting of MULTIPLIERS project

by Gesche Schifferdecker and Rosa Castañeda

In school, science is often presented in an abstract way and without a context – but if we want to get young people interested, topics need to be relevant to their everyday life. This is the idea behind the H2020 project MULTIPLIERS – short for MULTIplayers Partnerships to ensure meaningful engagement wIth ScieEnce and ReSearch. In this project, scientists will bring real-life cases to students (from elementary school to secondary school), to look at specific “dilemma situations” from various perspectives.

These dilemma situations are explored in six different themes. The German theme is very up to date – it will explore the topic of “Pro–Con Vaccination” and is managed by MULTIPLIERS project coordinator University of Bonn. The University of Cyprus will focus on “Anti-microbial Resistance”, while Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona is investigating the theme “Air Pollution”. IREN SpA, an Italian company providing public services like energy, water, and heating, will handle the topic of Energy Efficiency.

You might be curious why European Forest Institute (EFI) is involved in this project? Well, of course MULTIPLIERS also tackles forest-related topics. In close collaboration with EFI colleagues, Umeå University is going to explore the dilemma of “Forest Use versus Forest Protection”. This topic is quite controversially discussed in Sweden – and not only there as we know. The debate is – like the debate around vaccination or air pollution – more emotional than based on evidence and thorough analysis.

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From the birds’ eye perspective to actions on the ground

SUPERB to promote forest restoration and adaptation across Europe

by Gesche Schifferdecker and Rina Tsubaki

Imagine you were a bird flying over Europe. You would see cities and villages, rivers, agricultural landscape, and forests covering almost one-third of Europe. You will distinguish many different types of trees: dark green or more reddish, straight and tall, wide and crooked or small and slender, with many different shapes of leaves or needles. While flying over Europe, you would also encounter damaged forest areas, burned down by the fire, or destroyed by bark beetles; and tree leaves affected by air pollution and herbivorous pests, or turning yellow and brown from a drought. These disturbances overall are becoming more frequent and severe, be it due to various short-sighted human interventions or ongoing climate change. Luckily, it is not all bad news. From the air, you would also see people working in these damaged forests, planting or seeding new trees, or protecting the naturally regenerating forest against grazing. You would discover people preserving surviving old trees or even the deadwood, because these people have understood how valuable they are for a functioning ecosystem. If done right and with some luck, a diverse and healthy forest will again develop, which will be roamed once more by the many forest creatures.

While there is a widespread awareness of the urgency to conserve and restore biodiversity and halt climate change, in fact much more actions are needed on the ground to ensure long-term thriving of forests in Europe. A series of political commitments at the European level are already in place, including the 2019 European Green Deal, the 2020 EU Biodiversity Strategy and EU Forest Strategy 2030. Yet, in many places a transformative change is still needed on the ground.

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Green4C international launch: nature-based health and social care through knowledge alliances

The EU-funded Green4C project is organising its international launch on Wednesday 1st December. This event will be a unique opportunity to discover market and policy trends, and what they look like on the ground, for Europe’s fastest-growing themes that bridge the health and environment sectors: Nature-based Health and Social Care.

The webinar will bring together some of the most important researchers and practitioners to discuss challenges and concrete steps forward for the development and implementation of Green Care initiatives and nature-based interventions. Outcomes of discussions in the webinar will result in the design of a policy and market brief on Green Care.

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Wildfire Diaries Episode VII: “The living proof of the value of exchange”

The latest edition of the Wildifire Diaries by Vallfirest starring Alex Held, Senior Expert of Fire Management, Silviculture and Wildlife at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and project leader of “Waldbrand-Klima-Resilienz” (Forestfires-Climate-Resilience , in short: WKR).

In this episode Alex chats about how he started as a firefighter in South Africa as a complete greenhorn, facing unbelievable extents of fire, but also learning about tools used for fire management he has not seen before.

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