Written by Lison Ambroise & Sara Helsen
As part of the IFSA (International Forestry Students’ Organisation) delegation, we had the opportunity to take part in the conference “Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services across the globe” in Bonn. The event did not only gather experts from many different countries, but also transdisciplinarity was the watchword: participants ranged from the field of forest policy to forest management research, and from practitioner to policymaker.
During the introductory panel, the projects responsible for the organization of the conference were presented. Both the INFORMAR (Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture) and the POLYFORES (Decision-making support for Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe) project were introduced by Georg Winkel (Head of EFI Bonn), while the Research Training Group ConFoBi (Conservation of Forest Biodiversity in Multiple-Use Landscapes of Central Europe) was presented by Jürgen Bauhus (Freiburg University). After a welcome note by Eva Müller, Head of the Forestry Department of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the first plenary started with a global overview of today’s forest management and practices, a “Tour de la Planète”. From Robert Nasi (Center for International Forest Research, Natalia Lukina (Russian Academy of Sciences), Christian Messier (Université du Québec à Montréal), Ulrich Schraml (Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg), and Eduardo Rojas Briales (Polytechnic University of Valencia) we learned about European forests, tropical forests, Boreal forests – including differences between Russia and Sweden –, Australian and northern American ones, as well as Mediterranean forests. It was obvious that, depending on the localization of the forests and the societal context, the perception of forest ecosystem services differs a lot, as well as forest management. According to Robert Nasi, in some tropical forests, the informal sector accounts for ten times more logging than the formal one and the deforestation rate is still increasing, so what we call “sustainable management” does not seem to be the solution. In Russia, Australia, Canada, and the US, forest management is predominantly segregated, while many European countries apply an integrative approach. Segregation versus integration, that was a returning question. We were impressed by the creativity of Ulrich Schraml (Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg) who illustrated a history of segregation and reintegration using bowling pins in different colors.