from Andreas Schuck and Loic Duchamp
In the beautiful autumn forest in Vosges du Nord – Forêt de Bitche, France, we organized a training session with 44 foresters from public and private forests on 18th and 19th of October 2018. The Marteloscope ‘Falkenberg’ was set up in the course of European Forest Institute’s Integrate+ project, and it is located on state forest land in a Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park (French part of the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Vosges du Nord–Pfälzerwald). 60%, or 76.283 ha of the park are covered by forest, composed of 58% broadleaves and 42% conifers.
One main conservation objective in that nature reserve is to increase forest naturalness. This is achieved by designating strictly protected areas and preserving or restoring forest composition and potential habitats in managed forests.
The training was organised in the following way, with the help of the ONF Sarrebourg’s Agency: two groups of 10 persons implemented in the course of one day both Marteloscope exercises and an on-site training on tree related microhabitats. Laurent Larrieu, an internationally renowned expert on tree related microhabitats from INRA Toulouse and CRPF Occitanie, introduced us to the identification of such habitats and their importance for different forest dwelling species. The same approach was applied also for the second day. We (Loic Duchamp, from the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park and my colleagues) and Andreas Schuck from EFI’s INFORMAR project worked together in conducting the Marteloscope exercises.
The participants told us afterwards that they appreciated the insight to tree-related microhabitats given by Laurent Larrieu. Why and for whom are they important and what can we do to preserve and develop them were main discussion points of the training. The Marteloscope exercise then allowed for diverse group of foresters to put the new acquired knowledge into action. Getting a better understanding for decision making when taking into consideration also nature conservation aspects was appreciated and the impacts of silvicultural interventions lively debated. This showed especially as the five teams of two persons did not have the same results although they were given the same management task. Finally, the participants acknowledged that there are a variety of approaches – and not necessarily a “best solution”. Each will have their advantages and disadvantages and ask for trade-offs.