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Month: July 2018

"Close-to-nature" fire prevention

Targeted or tactical grazing for fire prevention is nothing new, but worthwhile to be highlighted again under the current wildfire situations across Europe.
Personally, I am a believer in large scale prescribed burning as an effective and nature friendly prevention tool. But I have to admit that the idea of producing steaks, chops and sausages through fuel load reduction grazing is also very appealing to me indeed! And it can be applied all year round! And as always, to manage fire we need a toolbox with many different tools! Prescribed burning is one, grazing another. The recent BBC report on “prescribed grazing” says it all.

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Marteloskop – ein „Simulator“ für die integrative Waldwirtschaft

Von Katharina Rohde und Gesche Schifferdecker
Die Entscheidung zu treffen, welcher Baum als Zukunftsbaum im Wald belassen wird und wachsen darf, und welcher Baum entnommen wird, ist nicht immer einfach. Schließlich spielen neben ökonomischen Parametern wie der Holzqualität und der Wuchsform auch ökologische Parameter, so genannte Mikrohabitate, wie beispielsweise tote Äste und Rindentaschen, bei der Entscheidung eine wichtige Rolle.
Um nachhaltige Forstwirtschaft und Naturschutz sinnvoll und anschaulich miteinander verbinden zu können, ist am 4. Juli 2018 das erste rheinland-pfälzische Marteloskop „Viergemeindewald“ eröffnet worden. Auf einer ca. 1 ha großen Waldfläche sind hier alle Bäume ab einem Brusthöhendurchmesser von 7 Zentimetern erfasst, vermessen und fortlaufend nummeriert. Zusätzlich sind für jeden Baum die ökonomischen sowie ökologischen Parameter aufgenommen.

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Resilience or stability: which is best for forest management?

Recently, the idea of resilience has started to dominate thinking about all sorts of biological and social systems. It is, in fact, quite an old idea, first introduced in 1973 by C.S. Holling, an ecologist himself. Based on his first seminal paper, Holling and others later extended the concept of resilience to a wide range of systems that include aspects of social and ecological sciences. But what is resilience? And how does it differ from stability?
Holling distinguishes resilience and stability as two opposite characteristics of ecological systems. Stability is the ability of a system to return to the same equilibrium state after a temporary disturbance. “Resilience, on the other hand, is the ability of systems to absorb change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between populations or state variables.”

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Fighting fire by the book

Euronews featured a comprehensive article with interviews from our European Forest Risk Facility experts, Alexander Held (EFI) and Marc Castellnou (Pau Costa Foundation) on how to tackle wildfires, aiming at summarizing the lessons learned of fighting wildfires.
Castellnou emphasizes that all the related research helps them predict how the fire will develop and make an effective use of resources. Held explains the three main factors to consider when assessing a fire: wind, terrain and the direction of the blaze. He then elaborates on dry firefighting tactics for preventing the fire to spread, such as digging channels along the flanks of the blaze and removing vegetation with prescribed burns.

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Waldbautraining mit Marteloskopen und moderner IT

Forstfachleute aus acht Bundesländern und aus der Schweiz tauschten sich zu den Perspektiven von IT-gestützten Waldbau-Schulungen aus.

Vom 10.-11.7.2018 trafen sich in Bonn forstliche Fachleute aus zahlreichen Bundesländern, aus der Schweiz und von Hochschulen sowie vom Europäischen Forstinstitut (EFI), um sich zum Stand und zu Perspektiven von Waldbau-Schulungen auszutauschen. Hierbei ging es vor allem um die künftige Rolle moderner Informationstechnologien und um die didaktische Weiterentwicklung von Waldbau-Schulungen. Präsentiert und diskutiert wurden Erfahrungen aus dem von EFI initiierten Integrate+-Projekt (Integration von Waldnaturschutz in die Waldbewirtschaftung und Nutzung besonderer Demonstrationsflächen) und aus den Forstverwaltungen verschiedener Bundesländer. Das Expertentreffen begann mit dem Austausch von Erfahrungen bezüglich der Nutzung von Demonstrationsflächen für die integrative Waldbewirtschaftung, sogenannte Marteloskopflächen, für unterschiedliche Trainingszwecke. Darüber hinaus wurden Beispiele aus der Praxis des Waldbau-Trainings vorgestellt und Entwicklungsperspektiven für die Waldbau-Schulung diskutiert. In Bonn sind die ersten beiden NRW-Marteloskope nach dem Integrate+-Ansatz eingerichtet. Eine dieser Flächen im Kottenforst wurde unter Führung von Uwe Schölmerich und Klaus Striepen von Wald und Holz NRW am zweiten Tag besucht, um den Erfahrungsaustausch im Wald fortzusetzen. Die Exkursion war auch verbunden mit einer virtuellen, von einer am EFI entwickelten Trainingssoftware unterstützten Durchforstungsübung.

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"HELP! Our forests are burning!" – "But what kind of help do you need?"

The heatwave across central and northern Europe is preparing the ground for a severe wildfire season. Normally mostly green vegetation is turning into “fuel” in countries normally not affected by serious fire problems. Hereby I am referring to countries not prepared for a wildfire season (compared to the Mediterranean areas, who are dealing with frequent forest fires), despite the climate change scenarios and increasing risks and disturbance predictions.
We have reported here on this blog about the fire situation and early warning systems in the UK, Ireland, and Germany already. Now Scandinavia is receiving a lot of media attention. Sweden for instance is calling for international assistance:
Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help. Sweden worst hit as hot, dry summer sparks unusual number of fires, with at least 11 in the far north” (source: The Guardian) or
“Swedish firefighters were still battling 49 different wildfires across the country on Thursday afternoon, and in some areas residents have been asked to leave for their own safety. Here’s where evacuations take place.” (source: The Local)
As we can see from this and most other media articles, reports focus on the weather, the heat and fires and smoke and on helicopters as well as water-bombing aircraft. And that is what you need in a out-of-control fire situation: Hit the fire fast and hard. And for that you need resources like planes, absolutely. However, what I do miss in most news articles is that the crisis management cycle has more phases than just the response. Is that single-focused reporting maybe a reason for political ignorance of urgent needs for prevention and mitigation?

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Close-To-Nature Forestry across Europe

A short report on the annual Pro Silva Europa meeting in Weimar, Germany

Pro Silva is a European federation of professional foresters across 24 European countries (and more recently in New England, USA) who advocate and promote Pro Silva Close to Nature Forest Management Principles as an alternative to age-class forestry to create and maintain resilient forest ecosystems. Increasing forest resilience was also the motivation to create Pro Silva 29 years ago.
This year, the annual meeting was planned and prepared by ANW Deutschland and Pro Silva Europa. It was operationally hosted by ANW Thuringia and the state forest administration of Thuringia in and around the city of Weimar on 20-23 June 2018. The Pro Silva Program addressed topics such as forest conversion from age-class to continuous-cover forestry, re-introduction of silver fir (and other climate-change-relevant tree species) and the ungulate-silviculture challenge of converting European forests to more biodiverse, stable and resilient forests.

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Opportunity to join our team in Bonn

EFI Bonn office window view
The windows of EFI Bonn offices overlook the river Rhein. Credit: H.Kruse/EFI

Since last year, when European Forest Institute’s office was set up in Bonn, the team has been growing fast. From just two scientists, it has now reached a number of 21 people, all passionate about forests.
One of the latest additions to the team were Ewa and Michele from the EUFORGEN Secretariat, who moved to Bonn from Rome in June. You can read more about them here and why they moved here.
Our Office Manager Heike Kruse has decided to only work part-time as of October, so we are looking for an addition to our team.
That could be you.

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Mit deutschsprachigen Forstchefs im Bonner Kottenforst

Am Freitag, den 6. Juli 2018, haben Wald und Holz NRW und wir, das Bonner Büro von European Forest Institute (EFI), für die ForstchefInnen von Deutschland, Österreich, der Schweiz, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg und Südtirol eine Exkursion in den Bonner Kottenforst organisiert, um uns über das Spannungsfeld Naturschutz – nachhaltige Waldwirtschaft – Nutzung des Waldes für Erholungszwecke auszutauschen. Die Exkursion fand im Rahmen eines Treffens auf Einladung des Bundesministeriums für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL) in Bonn statt, bei dem waldpolitische Fragen diskutiert wurden.
Um die Integration der verschiedenen Waldfunktionen Nutz/Schutz/Erholung aus forstpraktischem Blickwinkel betrachten zu können, haben wir mit den Forstchefs die Marteloskopfläche „Jägerhäuschen“ besucht und gemeinsam mit Uwe Schölmerich, Leiter des Regionalforstamtes Rhein-Sieg-Erft, vorgestellt. Marteloskope sind Waldflächen, in denen alle Bäume genau vermessen wurden. Baumart, Durchmesser, Holzwert und ökologischer Besonderheiten wie Spechthöhlen oder Rindentaschen sind erfasst und in einer digitalen Karte dargestellt. Anhand dieser Beispiele können ForstmanagerInnen und Studierende, aber auch PolitikvertreterInnen und die interessierte Öffentlichkeit mithilfe einer Tabletsoftware im Wald selbst simulieren, wie man Naturschutzaspekte und wirtschaftliche Erwartungen miteinander in Einklang bringen kann.

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Nature protection in forest management: mandatory and voluntary tools in Europe

Nature is the diversity of living organisms on Earth. It constitutes an essential element for human well-being and for ecosystems services (such as food production, water cycles, soil fertility).
In Europe several studies have demonstrated a steady loss of animal and plant species related to forest, caused for example by intensive land use, invasive alien species introduction, pollution and global warming (EEA short report on Biodiversity, 2008). Maintenance of biodiversity in forests will support its resilience to natural and human pressures. It contributes for example to the mitigation of raising temperatures and to food security.
I have recently been working on several mandatory and voluntary tools supporting nature conservation in forests, and I would like to introduce some of the most important here.

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