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Showcasing Resilience in a cake

Some impressions from a PhD Baking challenge in Freiburg

Generally, it can be very challenging to communicate recent research advances in an understandable way to the public. To make it a bit sweeter, a bake challenge was held at the University Freiburg where participants were tasked with transforming PhD topics into appetizing creations.

Of course, I could not resist the challenge and quickly had a good idea of how to present my cake. For RESONATE, I am investigating two forest management options that should enhance the resilience of forests to drought, thinning and mixing tree species. On my cake, I showed their potential with two scenarios. One half illustrated a devastated chocolate forest suffering from drought, as it was a monoculture and an unthinned forest. The other half showcased a vibrant, diverse chocolate forest thriving under proper management, even with a creamy forest floor, resilient enough to withstand drought (the applause produced some wind damage though).

Resilience in a cake

After each PhD gave a short presentation of our cakes, the hungry audience of colleagues, professors and even local newspaper journalists were asked to vote for their favourite. It was a close competition, and Caterina Pacini (working at the Chair for Sustainability and Transitions Research) was one vote ahead with her brilliant cake on energy transition and uncertainty, represented by her unconventional ingredient, parmesan. Nevertheless, I was very happy that I joined, and I am now looking forward to more opportunities to combine my academic pursuits with my (new) passion for baking!

Stay tuned for new results on the effects of thinning and mixing different species, also on real non-chocolate forests, or take a look into our RESONATE “Report on the potential management options to mitigate disturbances” (deliverable 2.4) for a first glimpse.

Images provided by Julius Willig from University of Freiburg.

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