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Author: Gesche Schifferdecker

Key actions needed for resilient forests

In a world facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change, loss of biodiversity, and growing pressure on natural resources, we rely on resilient forest ecosystems (IPCC 2023) to mitigate these threats and support the well-being of our communities. On the one hand, forests are being increasingly impacted by numerous disturbances including wildfires, windstorms, droughts, and biotic threats. On the other hand, forests play a crucial role in addressing global challenges: they provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including carbon sequestration, habitat provision, and sustainable livelihoods.

In 2020, former EFI researcher Laura Nikinmaa and her colleagues investigated fostering forest resilience as a key response strategy to address uncertainty stemming from global change. But how can theoretical concepts be translated into practical actions? Based on a systematic review of 255 studies, Nikinmaa et al. (2020) pointed out that the more holistic concept of social-ecological resilience  – which involves enhancing the ability of ecosystems to provide essential services while maintaining human well-being – has not been implemented widely in the practice of forest management because of the lack of clarity in operationalising it. At the same time, policy makers are tasked with devising policies without sound knowledge of the processes that have promoted forest resilience in the recent past. As a result, both policy makers and forest managers lack a broad understanding of whether forests are going to be resilient in the future given the current global trends (Nikinmaa et al. 2020).

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Einen Tag Förster*in sein im Bonner Kottenforst

Wer interessiert am Klima- und Umweltschutz ist und mehr über die Rolle des Waldes im Klimawandel erfahren möchte, sollte an einer unserer drei „Marteloskop“-Übungen im Bonner Kottenforst teilnehmen.

Diese “Marteloskop“-Übungen (kurzes Info-Video zu Marteloskopen hier) bieten die einmalige Gelegenheit, selbst in die Welt der Förster*innen einzutauchen und Waldmanagement im Klimawandel zu erleben – und zu diskutieren, wie man den Wald sowohl nachhaltig nutzen als auch schützen kann.

Im Rahmen des Forschungsprojekts „Martelkom“ lädt European Forest Institute in das Marteloskop im Bonner Kottenforst zum Austausch mit Förster:innen direkt vor Ort ein. Dafür haben wir drei Termine für unterschiedliche Zielgruppen gefunden:

Am 16. September üben wir mit Wald- und Klimaschutzinteressierte Bürger*innen von 10-14:30Uhr.

Am 23. September laden wir junge Klimaaktivist*innen um 10-14:30Uhr ein.

Am 6. Oktober möchten wir die Übung gemeinsam mit zukünftigen Lehrer*innen ebenfalls um 10-14:30Uhr durchführen.

Wo? Jägerhäuschen im Kottenforst, bei Röttgen (53125 Bonn)

Wir sind gespannt auf Ihre/Eure Perspektive! Da Plätze begrenzt sind bitte unbedingt anmelden unter hannah.ertelt(at)efi.int

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„Parasitoide spielen eine wesentliche Rolle in Waldökosystemen“ 

Interview mit Axel Schopf zur Erforschung natürlicher Gegenspieler von Forstschädlingen

Über die Rolle von Parasitoiden in Waldökosystemen habe ich mit Axel Schopf, Professor i.R. an der Universität für Bodenkultur in Wien und Berater  in dem Team des Eichenresilienz-Projekt gesprochen, in dem European Forest Institute mit dem Landesbetrieb Wald und Holz im Wissenstransfer zusammenarbeitet.

Die Durchführung des Projektes „Erhebung der Parasitoiden der Frostspanner-Arten Operophtera brumata und Erannis defoliaria sowie des Eichenwicklers Tortrix viridanaerfolgt am Institut für Forstentomologie, Forstpathologie und Forstschutz (IFFF) an der BOKU Wien unter der Leitung von Frau Doz. Dr. Christa Schafellner. Ihre Aufgabe war, den Parasitoidenkomplex (Parasitoide = Raubparasiten, die als natürliche Gegenspieler von Schädlingen diese letztlich abtöten) der dominierenden Eichenschädlinge Kleiner und Großer Frostspanner (Operophtera brumata, Erannis defoliaria) und Grüner Eichenwickler (Tortrix viridana) in ausgewählten Eichenbeständen im Münsterland zu untersuchen. Ziel der Untersuchung war es, in Folge die Möglichkeit einer Steigerung der Widerstandsfähigkeit von Eichenwäldern durch bestimmte Förderung und Ausbringung von natürlichen Gegenspielern der Eichenschädlinge zu bewirken.

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New “Deer Observer” project investigates deer-forestry-conflict to improve forest resilience  

With EFI’s new “Deer observer” project, funded by the Velux Foundation, we aim to understand and communicate the relationship between deer density, natural regeneration, and stakeholder perceptions. Our overall objective is to inspire long-term change by initiating a dialogue between the different stakeholders involved in the deer-forestry-conflict. 

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“Oak Resilience”: investigating ecological measures to combat oak decline

Oaks can live up to a thousand years and grow to trees of impressive magnitude. They are of great importance, economically and ecologically. Oak wood is hard and resistant and provides a valuable resource for the market. And with over a thousand species of beetles, butterflies, birds and bats, fungi and more living on oaks, these trees are a real biodiversity hotspot.

Since the mid-1980s, however, the condition of oaks in Europe has deteriorated dramatically. This is due to an interaction of climatic extremes, such as drought or late frost, herbivorous insects and mildew. Among these stress factors, insect damage by early defoliators is of particular importance. Oaks generally show a strong ability for regeneration and can regrow their foliation even after complete defoliation. However, if severe defoliation in spring occurs repeatedly or in combination with a second stressor, the oaks’ energy reserves cannot be restored and the tree is lost.

The critical question is: how can we make oaks more resilient? And are there ecological means to combat oak decline? In Germany, committed people from forestry practice and science have joined forces to find solutions. The project “Oak Resilience” investigates the resilience of the native pedunculate oak and sessile oak and looks into predatory parasites –called parasitoids­– of the most important early defoliators in oaks, the winter moth Operophtera brumata, the mottled umber moth Erannis defoliaria and the oak leafroller moth Tortrix viridana. Parasitoid insects are natural antagonists of defoliating insects and are an important regulatory force in the ecosystem. The project will develop recommendations for silvicultural measures to support these natural regulating forces in order to strengthen the oak’s vitality and forest resilience in general. The project is led by Wald und Holz NRW and funded by the FNR (Agency for Renewable Resources; FKZ 22017517). Watch this video to get an introduction to the project – and check our Resilience blog for upcoming project results in 2023.

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Healthy trees translate to healthy citizens

New FORWARDS project will provide crucial information on European forests’ vulnerability to climate change

Climate change has already had a deleterious impact on forests ecosystems and silviculture in various parts of the world. But healthy trees translate to healthy citizens: everyone benefits from forests’ clean air, safe food and water, and recreational space.

With a total budget of €14m funded by the European Commission’s HorizonEurope (plus additional funding by Switzerland and the UK) and more than 19 partners (incl. European Forest Institute) involved, the FORWARDS project (ForestWard Observatory to Secure Resilience of European Forests) will provide timely and detailed information on European forests’ vulnerability to climate change. The project will also deliver science-based knowledge to guide management using the principles of climate-smart forestry, ecosystem restoration, and biodiversity conservation. With its activities, FORWARDS aims at supporting European forests and society to transform, adapt, and mitigate climate-induced changes.

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Upcoming webinar: European forest restoration: urgently needed but where and how?

Forest restoration is not all roses – it comes with a range of challenges, too. Therefore, implementing and upscaling restoration measures is essential for their successful restoration. In our upcoming webinar “European forest restoration: urgently needed but where and how?” organized by the SUPERB project and IUFRO‘s Task Force ‘Transforming Forest Landscapes for Future Climates and Human Well-Being’ we will discuss how the habitat status of Europe’s forests is currently assessed, and what role data provided by National Forest Inventories can play to inform about forest restoration in Europe. We will also take a deep plunge into our SUPERB demo areas and discover the real-life challenges they are facing to implement restoration on the ground.

Join us on 8th February 4-6pm CET and register here.

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What if digital art and augmented reality could bring us closer to the forests?

by Beatrice Bellavia

Can you evoke the typical scent of a forest? Close your eyes and imagine walking down a path of needles, that is all it takes. But did you know that trees are not only oxygen generators – but produce large amounts of volatile organic compounds?  It is basically as if they were breathing, and this is precisely where the unmistakable forest smell comes from. 

Recently, I have experienced how trees breath – but guess what: not in the forest, but in a museum. It happened when I approached the immersive installation „ATMOSPHERIC FOREST“. In this installation, thanks to the augmented reality technology, I was able to navigate through the „breathing“ trees of the Swiss forest of Pfynwald.  I watched the forest from the bottom up, followed the path through the tree trunk until it brought the eye far up above the trees – yes, like a bird.

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