French forest professionals visit forest enterprise in Germany
Within European Forest Institute, we frequently organize Exchange of Experts (EoE) to share knowledge on integrative forest management concepts. With foresters from the French Office National des Forêts, we recently co-organised and participated in an EoE addressing nature conservation managers, forest contractors and representatives from local municipalities. In a two-day excursion event they were introduced to the integrative forest management concept applied in the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise of Ebrach, Germany.
Major aim was to stimulate discussions with the host forest enterprise but very much also amongst the French participants themselves given their different roles and professional backgrounds. Excursion stops addressed
(1) the role of strict forest reserve as reference areas for integrative forest management
(2) the deadwood concept
(3) the balancing act between producing high-quality timber and designating habitat trees and
(4) innovative recreation concepts.
We debated not only the context of economic impacts for the enterprise (“what does it cost”) but also long-term benefits towards more resilient, species-rich forests. Further visits took place to the educational forest center “Steigerwaldzentrum”, a local field research station linked to the University of Würzburg and scientific field trials.
The French colleagues noted that they will take home lots of information, especially relating to the stepping stone concept applied in Ebrach. Highlighted was the interplay of the enterprise with research to scientifically underpin their management measures. Particularly interesting according to the participants were the deadwood concept, and the intermix of nature conservation elements. We also openly discussed economic impacts of nature conservation in the context of current policy developments as were the extreme drought/heat years of 2018/19 and their impacts on silviculture and management planning. Finally, the participants extended their invitation to host their Ebrach colleagues in Alsace/Lorraine in 2020.
This EoE was yet another excellent showcase of how the continuously growing European INTEGRATE policy and practitioners network interacts.
Photo credit: Andreas Schuck