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.

Beech leaf disease affects American trees and raises concerns for European forests

By: Carrie Ewing, PhD Student at The Ohio State University

We are always happy to have “guest-authors” who give us an insight into their work. Carrie Ewing, PhD Student at The Ohio State University, is currently researching tree genetics to determine the plant pathogen(s) that are causing beech leaf disease (BLD), a new and seemingly lethal disease affecting American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia).  

The disease was first discovered in forests in the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. John Pogacnik, a biologist at Lake Metroparks in Ohio, first observed BLD in 2012 in northeast Ohio, U.S.A.  The disease has been spreading rapidly and has now affected forests in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York State, and Ontario, Canada.

Policy recommendations for employing urban forests as enabling learning environments

there is a place
where children who have never walked, find freedom
where children who have never talked, find words
and more often than not, where every child finds a smile

-Source unknown-


Playing and learning in the forest stimulates the imagination, creativity and entrepreneurship. Nature is a great place to gain experience for the development of social and motor skills.

Happy International Day of Forests!

Written by José Bolaños and Maria Schlossmacher

This year the International Day of Forests (IDF) will address the exciting theme “Forests and Education”. It is an occasion to raise awareness, to inform and to educate a broad public, different stakeholders and forest-managers about forest-related topics.

Forests cover one third of land on Earth, and they perform crucial and vital functions around the world. Trees improve our lives both at a grand scale and at the local level. Despite those benefits, deforestation and consequences of climate change are among other great challenges for forests.

National Forest Inventories as a multipurpose tool for urban forests

Written by Itziar Aguinaga Gil

Urban environmental challenges require on-site environmental solutions. As such, green infrastructure is widely proposed as a feasible measure towards the resilience and sustainable development of urban areas.

Urban forests represent the back-bone of urban green infrastructure by connecting the rural and city interface, and they provide both environmental and social benefits given that an adequate implementation and management is in place. However, all efforts may fail if there are not consistent and universal tools to quantify and characterize the necessary factors involved in the practice, policy and decision-making process. That is why we should consider the potentials of integrating urban forests within the National Forest Inventory.

No storm clouds without silver linings

Written by Alexander Held, Andrea Ortiz, Maria Schloßmacher

Two major storms, Eberhard and Franz, hit Germany and so its most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, last week. Experts are still assessing the full extent of the damage, but what is clear: this huge damage will have long-term impacts on forests. It also demonstrates once again the extent of enormous damages that are caused by storms and the related secondary damages like bark beetle infestation. 

Resilience: the ball-and-cup metaphor

Voices of Resilience introduces Rupert Seidl, Professor of forest ecosystem management and Deputy Head of the Institute of Silviculture at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU), Vienna, Austria. His research focuses on understanding how climate and disturbances affect forest ecosystem dynamics, and on applying this knowledge towards increasing the robustness of forest management in a changing world.