New winds in dealing with forest disturbances

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.

Einmal Förster sein: Sind Marteloskope für die Öffentlichkeitsarbeit geeignet?

Von Klaus Striepen

Das Netzwerk der Marteloskope in Europa wächst immer weiter und damit auch die Ideen für deren Einsatzmöglichkeiten. Im Rahmen des europäischen LIFE+ Naturschutzprojektes „Villewälder“ wurde erstmals eine Übung für Bonner Bürgerinnen und Bürger durchgeführt. Diese wurde in Zusammenarbeit mit der Volkshochschule Bonn (Adult Education Center) organisiert. Die Veranstaltung fand bei wunderbarem Frühlingswetter am ersten Aprilwochenende 2019 im Marteloskop Jägerhäuschen statt, einem Eichenmischwald im Waldgebiet Kottenforst nahe der Großstadt Bonn. Die Betreuung der Teilnehmer erfolgte durch die Mitarbeiter des LIFE+ Projektes, Klaus Striepen vom Regionalforstamt Rhein-Sieg-Erft und Peter Tröltzsch von der Biologischen Station Bonn/ Rhein-Erft.

PopUp Forest – Woodland in a bicycle

Global biodiversity is decreasing at an alarming pace. It occurs in remote wilderness areas but also right at our doorsteps. Nature is everywhere, and it is facing a global crisis. As such, the PopUp Forest movement is activating a civic response to locally address biodiversity loss and drive momentum towards the UN2020 Convention on Biological Diversity.  

This event, to be held in China, will gather representatives from 190 countries to reaffirm their commitment to nature. Its positive outcome is of great importance to steer the political decision-making process regarding biodiversity degradation.  

Protecting forest genetic diversity, a common purpose

Written by Silvio Oggioni

In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike -Paulo Coelho-

Forests are ecosystems full of life, probably the richest on the planet. They host trees, shrubs, grasses, mammals, birds, insects, fungi, in short hundreds of living species. And they are vast: just think that one third of the surface of Europe is covered by forests, and is constantly increasing, according to the State of Europe’s Forests Report of 2015.

Within forests there are thousands of trees, each one slightly different from its neighbour. Trees from different species are obviously different, but even among those belonging to the same species are unique individuals, just like you and me. Each tree is special: more or less resistant, more or less beautiful, with better fruits or more productive. Forest genetics studies the variability of intrinsic traits in a species or individual that can be transmitted to the next generations, which is the very basis of diversity in the forest world. And it is this diversity that allows the dynamic equilibrium on which is based all life in the forests. Protecting genetic diversity of species and individuals is the basis for sustainable management of forest ecosystems. In Europe, more than 50% of woodlands are designated to protect water, soil and the ecosystems!

Extreme Trockenheit führt zu hoher Waldbrandgefahr

Von Alexander Held & Maria Schloßmacher

Aufgrund akuter Waldbrandgefahr herrscht in vielen Regionen Deutschlands und darüber hinaus derzeit die höchste Warnstufe. Bereits vor Ostern musste die Feuerwehr zahlreiche Waldbrände löschen.

Der Waldbrandgefahren-Index des Deutschen Wetterdienstes (DWD) stuft vor allem Brandenburg, den Süden Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns, das nördliche Sachsen und den Osten Sachsen-Anhalts als stark gefährdet ein. Im nördlichen Sachsen dürfen wegen der hohen Brandgefahr einige Wälder nicht von der Öffentlichkeit betreten werden.

Gründe für den Ausbruch des Feuers sind vielfältig und doch leicht auszumachen. Die Kombination aus dem Rekordsommer 2018 und die anhaltende Trockenheit haben den Wäldern zugesetzt, sodass die letzten (Wasser)-Reserven aufgebraucht sind. Sollten sich die Prognosen über ein weiteres Dürrejahr 2019 bestätigen, werden auch die Zahlen der Waldbrände weiter drastisch steigen. Trockene Pflanzenreste und der Wind tragen zum Ausbruch des Feuers bei. Der Wind trocknet altes Gras, noch bevor das neue Grün wachsen kann und begünstigen so die schnelle Ausbreitung des Feuers. Da die Bäume erst langsam beginnen ihre Blätter zu bilden, kann die Sonne ohne Schutz bis auf den Waldboden scheinen und trockenen Pflanzenteile sind leichter entflammbar. Dadurch ist die Waldbrandgefahr im Frühling besonders hoch einzuschätzen.  Wind und Trockenheit, mehr noch als die Temperatur und die warmen Tage über dem Osterwochenende, spielen dabei eine entscheidende Rolle.

Land: similar topic, still a different world

When I started working on forests and forest policy, I was fascinated by how many disciplines, sectors and topics they reach. Land and healthy soils, for instance, are vital for forests well-being and vice versa. Forest dependent communities strongly rely on forests for their livelihoods and with this on access and rights to land. With this in mind, I started my exploratory journey to Washington DC to attend the “Land and Poverty Conference 2019 of the World Bank” where I was invited to present our study on the Future of Global Forest Governance, that I had been working on during the last year with colleagues (see further information here)

You are never too young or too old to learn to love forests

The joint EFI-IFSA-IUFRO project, funded by the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture, recently launched the ‘Dare to Explore!’ traineeship programme. Each year for 2019, 2020, and 2021 the programme will offer four unique, paid traineeship positions at three partnering organizations as well as other international forest related institutions. The traineeship programme aims to enrich students and recent graduates’ formal education and gain insight into science-policy interactions at the international level. In 2019 the traineeships address topics such as forest education, forest restorations, rewilding and rights-based approaches and includes knowledge sharing, literature review, outreach and communication activities.

Managing forests as functional complex networks

Although a variety of forest management approaches to cope with climate change have been proposed worldwide, what has been missing so far is a way to integrate them at appropriate scales, particularly at landscape level, and to put a primary focus on enhancing forest resilience in the Anthropocene.

I suppose that readers of the Resilience blog do not need a long introduction on the myriad of threats that the climatic and global changes pose to forest ecosystems. Mutating climate, drought, unexpected extreme disturbances, sudden shifts in socio-economic conditions but also forest fragmentation, pollution and new pest and diseases are making long-term forest planning more and more difficult. Scientists are still debating on the topic, but many are convinced that we entered in a new geological era: the Anthropocene. How can we therefore manage our forests so that they are more resilient to the high level of uncertainties that characterize this new era?

The State of the World’s Urban Forests

Every couple of years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) publishes a series of reports under the name of The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO). These documents compile current information on key issues concerning the forest sector to facilitate decision-making and management processes in relation to the world’s forests. 

The last SOFO, published in 2018, for the first time ever discusses the role of urban forests under the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In response to the accelerated urbanisation coupled with climate change dynamics, urban forests are viewed as a valuable contribution to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (SDG 11). Both in theory and practice, urban forests and trees have a positive impact on urban environmental conditions and citizens´ livelihoods and well-being.