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Resilience Blog Posts

Balancing recreation and conservation: sustainable management of coastal dunes

Coastal dunes are so popular for outdoor recreation, which often causes difficult dilemmas in coastal dune management. The conservation of coastal dunes requires a multifaceted approach that balances recreational use with habitat conservation. 

Coastal dunes with Juniperus spp. are distributed along the sandy coasts of Southern and Western Europe, on Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts. This rare and beautiful habitat features sparse junipers that are prostrate or erect depending on wind action and the adverse conditions typical of sand dunes.

Coastal dunes are very popular for outdoor recreation, which often causes difficult dilemmas in coastal dune management. On the one hand, recreation is considered a legitimate and appropriate function of many areas. On the other hand, recreation can result in a loss of natural qualities and, even worse, the complete destruction of the area. There is no simple solution to this dilemma. Only through adequate sustainable management can nature-based tourism be a compatible and complementary land use. By adopting sustainable management practices, promoting responsible visitor behaviour, and engaging local communities, it is possible to ensure the long-term conservation of these vital ecosystems. This integrated approach not only protects the natural environment but also supports the socio-economic well-being of local communities, creating a sustainable model for coastal dune management.

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The Emperor’s New Clothes: Why the EU Nature Restoration Regulation might fall short on biodiversity

The recent news around the now-adopted EU Nature Restoration Regulation has been significant, but is it really the game-changer it is being promoted as? The original 2022 proposal from the European Commission set the stage with ambitious and unambiguous goals for nature restoration. It was a clear call to action with legally binding targets and commitments.

Fast-forward to 2024, and the final version of the Regulation, shaped by amendments made by the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament, is rather a shadow of its former self. Instead of a robust legislative framework on restoration, we are left with a diluted set of subjective targets. While many argue that this is better than nothing, I find it hard not to see this as a step back from the originally proposed goals. What was once a strong plan is now a paper tiger, lacking substance and bite.

However, as a researcher, I find it interesting to highlight some of the changes and communication around the restoration regulation as an excellent example of framing in practice and the overall power of words (both for communication and legislation).

Let us get into why!

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Key actions needed for resilient forests

In a world facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change, loss of biodiversity, and growing pressure on natural resources, we rely on resilient forest ecosystems (IPCC 2023) to mitigate these threats and support the well-being of our communities. On the one hand, forests are being increasingly impacted by numerous disturbances including wildfires, windstorms, droughts, and biotic threats. On the other hand, forests play a crucial role in addressing global challenges: they provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, habitat provision, and sustainable livelihoods.

In 2020, former EFI researcher Laura Nikinmaa and her colleagues investigated fostering forest resilience as a key response strategy to address uncertainty stemming from global change. But how can theoretical concepts be translated into practical actions? Based on a systematic review of 255 studies, Nikinmaa et al. (2020) pointed out that the more holistic concept of social-ecological resilience  – which involves enhancing the ability of ecosystems to provide essential services while maintaining human well-being – has not been implemented widely in the practice of forest management because of the lack of clarity in operationalising it. At the same time, policy makers are tasked with devising policies without sound knowledge of the processes that have promoted forest resilience in the recent past. As a result, both policy makers and forest managers lack a broad understanding of whether forests are going to be resilient in the future given the current global trends (Nikinmaa et al. 2020).

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Bridging tradition and innovation: Lebanon’s role in EU-funded resilience projects

Lebanon’s pivotal role in EU-funded resilience projects stems from its unique blend of tradition and innovation. From rural wisdom to urban technology, it offers diverse…

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Rewilding: navigating below the tip of the iceberg

By Davide Pettenella and Mauro Masiero (University of Padova, Italy)

In recent times, the tip of a large iceberg called rewilding has been spotted in the vast ocean of nature management and ecological restoration. Profound global and local changes have shaken this iceberg from its glacial platform, sparking ample interest in rewilding approaches. Although most attention is directed to the iceberg’s visible tip, rewilding conceals deeper complexities below the surface. Unveiling hidden depths would help a better understanding of rewilding as an emerging, wicked topic.

What are different pathways to rewilding and how do these approaches build on various ideas of human-nature relationships? We will embark on a journey to navigate these depths onboard a “socioeconomic and policy” submarine. Join our crew to gain a perspective different from – or, at least, complementary to – more ordinary periscopes.

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Resilience thinking: a promising avenue to address the multiple challenges of our time

In the face of global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss, and population growth, resilience theory offers strategies to strengthen landscapes. Learn how resilience can help navigate these complex issues.

Resilience as a solution for the global triple challenge

Humanity is facing a huge challenge: we need to take care – feed, provide shelter, and health – of more and more people. We need to mitigate climate change while at the same time adapting to the part of it that has already happened. And we have to stop the enormous loss of plants and animals in nature – of the biodiversity on which ecosystems provide ‘environmental services’ to humans.
This “Triple Challenge” isn’t just happening in one place—it is happening all over the world, on land, in the water, and in the air. Think of the Earth as a big puzzle made up of different pieces called “landscapes”, where nature and people interact in multiple, complex, and specific ways. Each landscape has its own unique features, but they all face similar problems.

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Improving biodiversity monitoring in sustainable forest management

Several decades ago, FOREST EUROPE developed a set of Criteria and Indicators (C&I) for SFM, that was improved and revised over the years. Those are publicly available, and countries use it as a very important tool for national and European forest policy, and for the development of their National Forest Inventories. Based on the information obtained by these C&I, the State of Europe’s Forests report is regularly published every five years.  

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