Introduction to oFOREST

The project oFOREST, funded by the Federal Office for the Environment FOEN, Switzerland aims at

  • identifying and reviewing relevant examples of integrated forest management
  • providing an overview over existing principles and concepts
  • establishing and maintaining a network of forest expertise and increasing the «tool-box» of management options in multifunctional forest management.

The main product will be a book publication that includes real forest management examples on an enterprise basis and theoretical background chapters on the specific framing situations in forestry across Europe. Influencing factors on developments but also the potentials for adaptations and changes will be analysed for the different regions.

oFOREST is focussing on the European continent, although few examples from outside of Europe are included. Specific attention is given to forest ownership and cultural history as they are highly diverse both in European countries as well as in Switzerland. Of course, a multitude of challenges is emerging from such diversity. Best available forest management approaches and practice examples that are identified outside Switzerland may serve as input for developing, adjusting and broadening management toolboxes for forest managers across Switzerland and vice versa.

The focus of all contributions lies in the applicability of existing knowledge and practical experiences. This will nurture a better understanding on how to deal with respective challenges based on approaches applied by others. The intention of the book will be not only to visualize and reconcile similar situations from different regions in Europe. It will also present and analyze influencing factors that drive such developments and highlight potentials for adaptation and change in different European regions.

We have just started the writing process of the project centerpiece, a political-oriented book, based on scientific findings and practical knowledge. Multiple authors from research and practice are putting together facts and figures. Within the next few months the corresponding chapters will be developed and prepared before a review process will ensure consistency and quality. It is envisaged to finalise the book at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020. Finally, we hope to reach out to forest practitioners, but also researchers, politicians and the broad – or interested – public with this product.

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