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Resilience Blog Posts

Showcasing Resilience in a cake

Generally, it can be very challenging to communicate recent research advances in an understandable way to the public. To make it a bit sweeter, a bake challenge was held at the University Freiburg where participants were tasked with transforming PhD topics into appetizing creations. RESONATE researcher Julius Willig couldn’t resist the challenge and presented a cake with 2 forest management scenarios.

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When professionals’ experience matters: the launch of ResAlliance Landlab in Portugal

Professionals from the agricultural and forestry sectors responded extensively to the call of the ISA/UTAD scientific research teams in Portugal to share their concerns and experiences, in view of the problems observed in the northern regions of the country.

The European ResAlliance project continues to deploy its tools to improve the socio-economic resilience of the landscape in different countries of the Mediterranean and Southern Europe. On this occasion, the launch of the LandLab in Portugal was the opportunity to address the existing challenges in the northern regions of the country in the field of forestry and agriculture. The event was organised last November in collaboration between the Instituto Superior de Agronomia (ISA) and the Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) in the city of Vila Real and laid the foundations for the co-creation of solutions between different Portuguese experts and stakeholders.

The event was attended by 71 participants linked to the agricultural, agroforestry, and forestry sector. These experts included independent professionals, associations and cooperatives, small and large companies, technicians, financial institutions, and representatives of the Portuguese public administration and political parties (Figure 1). As part of the LandLab launch, an exploratory workshop was held to discuss the changes and solutions for the socio-economic agriculture and forestry sectors, considering the effects of climate change and demographic trends in the region.

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The future of sustainable forest management grows with TRANSFORMIT

New collaborative project launches to integrate societal demands with biodiversity conservation

Whether we witness branches coming back to life as spring unfolds, observe squirrels swiftly disappearing into the woods, or notice the crisp sound of boots on snow-covered trails—forest experiences hold meaning to us in many ways. But how else can we value forests?

Clean water sources, fresh air, healthy soil, flood control, climate change mitigation, and the survival of wildlife—all of these contribute to the relational value of forests. This goes beyond mere timber; forests embody a wealth of long-lasting socio-ecological benefits. We deeply rely on forests for social, economic, and cultural wellbeing. Balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders and reconciling short-term gains with long-term interests has been a historical challenge in the relationship between societal demands and forest conservation efforts. It is a dilemma that risks fueling environmental conflict and pessimism across the world.

Integrative Forest Management (IFM) emerges as a practical solution to address these conflicts. IFM seeks to harmonize the ecological and socio-economic demands for forests through sustainable forest management, aiming to enhance biodiversity while equally ensuring economic viability. Over the past 13 years, European Forest Institute’s (EFI) exploration and research into IFM through projects like Integrate (2011-2013), Integrate+ (2013-2016), INFORMA (2017-2020), and FoReSite (2020-2022), have been proactive. While the concept of IFM is well-established, it currently lacks operational elements in terms of verification, monitoring, guidance, and Europe-wide implementation. This gap is what led us to initiate the new TRANSFORMIT project. 

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Nordic Forest Policy – a journey through two centuries

This is a contribution from guest authors: Alexia Fridén1, Dalia D’Amato2,3, Hanna Ekström1, Bogomil Iliev4, Akonwi Nebsifu2, Wilhelm May1,Marianne Thomsen4, Nils Droste1.

1 Lund University, Sweden, 2 University of Helsinki, Finland, 3 Finnish Environment Institute, Finland, 4 Copenhagen University, Denmark

Forest ecosystems play a crucial role in providing economic, ecological, and social values, both nationally and internationally. This significance is particularly evident in the forest-rich countries of the Nordics such as Sweden and Finland, where a long history of forest policies unfolds, intertwined with national (and more recently, international) macro-trends such as war, economic boom, and globalization.

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Forests do not end at national borders – how can united knowledge help Europe’s forests?

This is a report made by three representatives from the International Forestry Students’ Association during their voluntary work for the HLPD 2023 organization.

On November 9, government representatives and practitioners from all over Europe came together in Berlin for the second FOREST EUROPE High-Level Talks to address one question: How can sustainable forest management help make Europe’s forests more resilient to the consequences of climate change?

For those who don’t know, FOREST EUROPE is a pan-European forest policy process at the ministerial level in which guidelines, criteria, and indicators of sustainable forest management are developed. And we had the opportunity to be the youth representatives.

What have we seen? What are the bullet points we, the Youth, take from this day full of panel discussions? This is our perspective on the topic of „growing healthier forests“ and the efforts the government representatives make in their countries.

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Wildfire science enters the Spanish Congress 

The work of Oficina C brings science to policymaking in Spain 

In 2019, the church of Notre Dame burnt down. Citizens of Hong Kong took the streets to protest for a better democracy. Students protested against inequality in Chile. The Amazon burned (and the hashtag #PrayforAmazonas went viral). Theresa May resigned as prime minister of the UK, and Simone Biles became the gymnast with the most medals in the history of world championships. Anyone slightly following the news probably remembers most of these events. 

However, in this blogpost I will talk about something else that happened in 2019, in this case in Spain, that went unheard of for most. It was the year when the Spanish Congress approved the creation of the Office for Science and Technology (Oficina C), in order to support a scientifically informed debate in the lower House. And you may wonder why is this relevant at all. It is relevant, because we live in the era of the “post-truth”. An era when fake-news appear on a daily basis, and where online disinformation is a matter of public concern. Making scientific findings accessible for policymakers has always been relevant, but now we need to facilitate evidence-based discussions more than ever.  

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New Horizon project WILDCARD reveals contribution of rewilding to EU’s climate and biodiversity goals

All over Europe, nature is making a comeback. As more people move to cities and other land use changes occur, the EU’s forest area is growing, having increased by almost 10% (+14 million hectares) between 1990 and 2020. On top of that, a total of 10-29 million hectares of agricultural land are likely to be abandoned between 2000 and 2030. This leaves potential for native flora, fauna and complex ecosystems to reclaim space, bringing natural ‘rewilding’ to the center of Europe’s environmental policy discussions.

Understanding how rewilding can contribute to solving the climate and biodiversity crises is crucial for the successful implementation of the EU Biodiversity Strategy, the EU Nature Restoration Law, and the EU Green Deal – a mission to be tackled by the new Horizon Europe project WILDCARD. Starting in January 2024, the project is, for the first time, systematically assessing the impacts of two major rewilding approaches on carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation at the European scale. Currently, a lack of comprehensive research on the topic prevents rewilding from being fully integrated into Europe’s strategy to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

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Greening tomorrow’s cities today

Uforest, a Knowledge Alliance project co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission, aims to contribute to the development of entrepreneurial and innovation approaches within the sphere of urban forestry through developing diverse partnerships with universities, cities, businesses, public administrations, NGOs and local citizens. In so doing, the Project seeks to redefine the Urban Forestry sector through nurturing a culture of collaboration and cross-sector working to develop an Alliance of urban forestry stakeholders across Europe. Even though the project is coming to an end in December 2023, U-forest took very practical steps to promote green spaces in cities.

Uforest’s from knowledge to action approach

Part of the project were several educational activities, the preparation of technical guidance and diverse events programmes. Significantly though, Uforest transcends the theory, as clearly highlighted through the inauguration of its annual “European Urban Forest Week” which was held during the first week of December 2023; what better present could Santa and his elves bring than newly planted forests, in once sterile ground! 

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Protecting your home from forest fires at zero cost: saving forests and money

The FireWise communities are an inspiring example of good practices applied in the Mediterranean context that help us defend ourselves against the consequences of forest fires. These practices are being documented by the ResAlliance project to promote knowledge exchange across the region.

When a house, a garden, or private land burns down, it is not just property that burns. What goes away are the daily lives of entire families and communities, which subsequently have to try to get back on their feet with great difficulty and after a long time. All this happens every time a forest fire breaks out.

The European project ResAlliance is collecting good practices to improve land resilience in the context of the Mediterranean basin, especially those necessary to deal with the consequences of climate change, such as prolonged periods of drought and forest fires. These include those related to the increase in the number and intensity of forest fires, which are increasingly frequent and intense and with whose risk we must learn to live with now, not ‘tomorrow’.

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