SINCEREly worth a look!

The European project Spurring INnovations for forest eCosystem sERvices in Europe (SINCERE) is officially launched. SINCERE is a four year project on the variety of ecosystem services provided to people by our forests. Funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and coordinated by the European Forest Institute, the project aims at contributing to a potential foundation for a new European forest related policy.

SINCERE is all about ecosystem services related to forests – with a focus on but not limited to European forests. Ecosystem Services in short are goods and services which benefit society. They are multifaceted and reveal themselves in many ways – from economic over material to health and emotional contributions. You can check out our introductory video for a more detailed explanation.

While you may immediately think of carbon sinks, water cycle and wood biomass, forests are also associated with cultural and spiritual benefits.

Neugier genügt im WDR 5 – Georg Winkel über den Wald in 100 Jahren

Was bedeutet Resilienz, wie sieht der Wald in 100 Jahren aus und wann ist ein Baum eigentlich so richtig alt? Diese und mehr Fragen beantwortete Georg Winkel Mitte Mai in einem Interview im WDR 5. In dem Interview mit Moderator Jürgen Wiebicke erzählt der Leiter des Resilience Programmes des European Forest Institute (EFI) nicht nur von seinem (neuen) Lieblingswald in Oberwinter mit den alten Bäumen und der fast schon romantischen Atmosphäre, sondern auch von den Konsequenzen des Klimawandels auf europäische Wälder und diskutiert darüber, wie man den ökonomischen Wert des Waldes bemessen kann.

 “We must act to halt and reverse the unsustainable use of nature” – Now

By Theresa Frei & Johanna Strieck

“We must act to halt and reverse the unsustainable use of nature – or risk not only the future we want, but even the lives we currently lead”, says Sir Robert Watson – chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This is but one somber, yet realistic conclusion drawn from the most recent reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services.

By the end of March, IPBES approved four landmark science reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services for different regions of the world and published a report on land degradation and restoration worldwide. These reports, comparable to the IPCC reports on climate change, result from three years of work, involving more than 550 leading scientists from over 100 countries to assess the state of worldwide biodiversity and ecosystem services. The main findings draw a gloomy future, however not without mentioning the one or the other ray of hope.

Tree Planting with the Rotary Club

After the international network of the Rotary Club challenged each of its 1.2 million members to plant a tree, 10 clubs from the Bonn area contributed with planting 800 trees – and head of the EFI Bonn office Georg Winkel contributed a speech. On 17th of March 2018, the newest of the Rotary Clubs, RC Bonn International, led the initiative in the Kottenforst, in the Waldau vicinity.

Although temperatures dropped below zero again this past weekend, participants patiently listened to several short speeches and acknowledgements. Georg Winkel was asked to give a short presentation on the benefits of planting trees and their role for a sustainable future. Afterwards, the local forester Sebastian Korintenberg gave some brief instructions for the right planting technique. After everyone was clear on what to do, people had a lot of fun planting the young copper beeches over the course of several hours.

Check out the whole event in pictures here.

European forests at risk: new challenges and possible solutions

by Johanna Strieck & Laura Nikinmaa

The cold Czech winter offered a warm welcome when the participants of the kick-off event of the project “Sustaining and Enhancing the REsilience of European Forest” (SURE) started in Písek, Czech Republic, on 18th of February. More than 50 scientists, practitioners and policy makers from 19 different European countries gathered to exchange experiences with forests risks and related disturbances. Hosted by Pro Silva Bohemica and European Forest Institute, the event was the kick-off for the collaboration towards a European Forest Risk Facility.

Forest extension and cooperation – EFI Bonn as facilitator

Johanna Strieck & Andreas Schuck & Nataša Lovrić

During the past week, EFI Bonn had once again the opportunity to present its new premises and to host the networking event entitled –“Forest Extension Workshop”. It was initiated jointly by the European Forest Institute and the Finnish Forest Centre (FFC). The two-day workshop started on 22nd of January 2018 and was organized by Marko Lovrić from EFI Headquarters in Joensuu. The event aimed at creating a platform of interchange of expertise, concepts and ideas. It brought together more than thirty participants from 16 countries representing different fields of forest advisory and extension.

Investigating wildfires: Northern Ireland develops a vegetation fire strategy together with EFI experts

After hundreds of wildfire incidents in Norther Ireland’s countryside, the government decided to take action mid 2017 and operation WildFire was initiated. The operation, lead by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) had the core task to investigate in more depth a number of wildfires. Fires could spread rapidly through dry ground conditions, putting property, public, habitat and species at risk.

Marcus Ittermann, LoCom Media (links) und Georg Winkel (EFI Bonn)

Podcast: Resilienz-Forschung zum Wald

Was bedeutet ‘Resilienz’ im Kontext Wald, und was macht das European Forest Institute (EFI) eigentlich in Bonn? Diese und mehr Fragen beantwortete Dr. Georg Winkel, Forstwissenschaftler und Leiter des Bonner EFI-Büros in einem spannenden Interview mit dem Lokalradio. Mit ihm sprach der Journalist Marcus Ittermann, Redakteur bei Locom Media.

Die Hauptaufgaben des EFI bestehen darin, sich mit Forschungsfragen zum Thema Wald zu beschäftigen, Ergebnisse dieser Forschung in kondensierter Form in die Politik zu bringen sowie durch gezielte Kommunikations- und Pressearbeit die Öffentlichkeit auf verständliche Art und Weise mit Informationen zu versorgen. Neben diesen Aufgaben nimmt sich das Bonner Büro verstärkt dem Begriff der Resilienz an. “Unser Standort soll als ‘Resilienz-Zentrale” fungieren”, so Winkel. Im Mittelpunkt steht die Fähigkeit der Wälder, sich an Veränderungen anzupassen. “Dies betrifft Themen wie den Klimawandel genauso wie den Naturschutz”, erklärt der Forstwissenschaftler. Klimatische Umstände haben enorme Effekte auf den (europäischen) Wald.  Veränderte Bedürfnisse der Menschen spielen jedoch auch eine wichtige Rolle. Hier liege einer der Knackpunkte.

How to integrate nature conservation and forest management in two days

Wrapping up the results of the InForMAr kick-off meeting

By Johanna Strieck & Laura Nikinmaa

European Forest Institute’s (EFI) Bonn office hosted a two-day’s workshop to kick off the project Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture (InForMAr). The project aims at conveying existing knowledge related to the implementation of integrated forest management, in order to spread cases of success as well as to address and to fill potential knowledge gaps. To get a background as inclusive as possible, around 30 European policy stakeholders, scientists and practitioners joined the workshop to discuss (and co-design) the research approach of the InForMAr project, and to connect to the project’s networking and policy/practice support activities.

Head of EFI’s resilience program Dr. Georg Winkel introduced the project and drew attention to its integrative character from the beginning: “The main aspect is to create learning sites for policy, science and practice to connect, to enable the identification of driving forces, so to understand and to demonstrate successful cases for adaptation in all contexts.”  Specific training sites, called Marteloscopes, already enjoy great popularity. According to Andreas Schuck, Senior Researcher within InForMAr, stakeholders from all over Europe already express high interest – from practitioners over policy stakeholders to universities.

“We need wildfire prevention rather than fire suppression” – EFI-expert responds to EU’s new rescEU plan

The European summer of 2017 had unprecedented amounts of natural disasters happening simultaneously, such as devastating forest fires in Portugal, immense storms in Germany and Greece an the UK, often followed by severe floods. It is estimated that natural disasters cost EU member states about 360 Billion Euro over the past 40 years, while over 200 people lost their lives in fires, storms and floods in 2017 alone.

Threatened by increasing magnitudes of climate change and destabilized by a lack of resources and cross border coordination, the EU faced the fact that something has to change. To boost Europe’s ability to better deal with natural disasters, the European Commission yesterday launched rescEU, an initiative to improve the European system to tackle natural disasters. The intention is to strengthen European response capacities on the one hand, and (maybe) more importantly to improve cooperation and coherence of disaster prevention and preparedness among European countries on the other hand.

“From the perspective of the European Forest Risk Facility hosted by European Forest Institute we welcome the statement of the commissioner, indeed we support his statement for more cooperation and prevention, hand in hand with adequate response to disasters”, says European Forest Institute’s (EFI) own senior expert on Forest-, Fire-, and Wildlife management Alexander Held.  However, we might have the wrong focus, also reflected in media coverage (like the German ZEIT), which so far focuses on the first aspect: suppression and fire control. A misallocation of money and resources, arisen due to misinformed people with a wish for a political spectacle, according to Held. “Large wildfires only occur through a combination of three things: an ignition, severe fire weather and a large contiguous accumulation of fuel. Take away the factors mankind cannot control, and you are left dealing with the accumulation of fuel – thus preemptive fire management. Broad scale fuel reduction burning (or grazing, mulching, mowing, converting to productive, valuable forest) is the only defense we have against large wildfires”, so Held. “Fire control through water bombers has its place, but is – just like any other case of symptom combating –  ineffective when dealing with large wildfires.”

Make sure you do not miss out on Alexander Held’s full statement on rescEU, as he makes a comprehensive case for allocating resources towards wildfire prevention rather than fire suppression. The statement is based on the expertise of the forest fire manager Held and does not necessarily reflect EFI’s viewpoint as an organization.