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Author: Maria Schlossmacher

Spirituality of the urban forest

Written by Joshua Amaitum Elukut

“When we pay attention to nature’s music, we find that everything on earth contributes to its harmony.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan

Twenty first century cities are characterized by tall skyscrapers, high residential densities, improved public transport infrastructure, as well as buildings of historical heritage. More people are moving from rural to urban areas, with the proportion of global urban population set to increase from 14% in 1900 to over 66% in 2025.

It is unfortunate that despite this trend, many urban areas lack adequate green infrastructure thus the ratio of green areas to built up areas is low. This gives inhabitants the feeling that they live in a ‘concrete jungle’ and are divorced from the natural world, contrary to earlier times when trees had a dominant influence upon human life and were sacred in many cultures.  

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Learn, grow, protect – environmental education in urban forest

Written by Vera Knill

„Don’t underestimate the ability of children to help drive change!“ Jo Sayers (The Mersey Forest)

Urban forests serve as a biodiversity hub and enhance resilience to environmental changes. As one of the most significant ecosystems for CO2 reduction from the atmosphere, forests do not only mitigate climate change. They also increase societal benefits, improve the quality of life and shelter the declining species of manifold flora and fauna. To spread this knowledge and to preserve and restore forest ecosystems, education for sustainable development is key.

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The Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO – voluntary forest conservation and management in private forests

During the meeting of the European Network Integrate in Toruń, Poland, Sanna Kasurinen, from the Finnish Forest Centre, presented the METSO-programme, an initiative aiming to halt the ongoing decrease of biodiversity of forest habitats and species in Finnish forests. The Forest Biodiversity Programme in particular addresses private forest owners. The overall objective is that based on a voluntary agreement, nature conservation is enhanced and communication improved on biodiversity of forest habitats and ecosystem services amongst stakeholders.

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Protecting forest genetic diversity, a common purpose

Written by Silvio Oggioni

In a forest of a hundred thousand trees, no two leaves are alike. And no two journeys along the same path are alike -Paulo Coelho-

Forests are ecosystems full of life, probably the richest on the planet. They host trees, shrubs, grasses, mammals, birds, insects, fungi, in short hundreds of living species. And they are vast: just think that one third of the surface of Europe is covered by forests, and is constantly increasing, according to the State of Europe’s Forests Report of 2015.

Within forests there are thousands of trees, each one slightly different from its neighbour. Trees from different species are obviously different, but even among those belonging to the same species are unique individuals, just like you and me. Each tree is special: more or less resistant, more or less beautiful, with better fruits or more productive. Forest genetics studies the variability of intrinsic traits in a species or individual that can be transmitted to the next generations, which is the very basis of diversity in the forest world. And it is this diversity that allows the dynamic equilibrium on which is based all life in the forests. Protecting genetic diversity of species and individuals is the basis for sustainable management of forest ecosystems. In Europe, more than 50% of woodlands are designated to protect water, soil and the ecosystems!

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Extreme Trockenheit führt zu hoher Waldbrandgefahr

Von Alexander Held & Maria Schloßmacher

Aufgrund akuter Waldbrandgefahr herrscht in vielen Regionen Deutschlands und darüber hinaus derzeit die höchste Warnstufe. Bereits vor Ostern musste die Feuerwehr zahlreiche Waldbrände löschen.

Der Waldbrandgefahren-Index des Deutschen Wetterdienstes (DWD) stuft vor allem Brandenburg, den Süden Mecklenburg-Vorpommerns, das nördliche Sachsen und den Osten Sachsen-Anhalts als stark gefährdet ein. Im nördlichen Sachsen dürfen wegen der hohen Brandgefahr einige Wälder nicht von der Öffentlichkeit betreten werden.

Gründe für den Ausbruch des Feuers sind vielfältig und doch leicht auszumachen. Die Kombination aus dem Rekordsommer 2018 und die anhaltende Trockenheit haben den Wäldern zugesetzt, sodass die letzten (Wasser)-Reserven aufgebraucht sind. Sollten sich die Prognosen über ein weiteres Dürrejahr 2019 bestätigen, werden auch die Zahlen der Waldbrände weiter drastisch steigen. Trockene Pflanzenreste und der Wind tragen zum Ausbruch des Feuers bei. Der Wind trocknet altes Gras, noch bevor das neue Grün wachsen kann und begünstigen so die schnelle Ausbreitung des Feuers. Da die Bäume erst langsam beginnen ihre Blätter zu bilden, kann die Sonne ohne Schutz bis auf den Waldboden scheinen und trockenen Pflanzenteile sind leichter entflammbar. Dadurch ist die Waldbrandgefahr im Frühling besonders hoch einzuschätzen.  Wind und Trockenheit, mehr noch als die Temperatur und die warmen Tage über dem Osterwochenende, spielen dabei eine entscheidende Rolle.

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Beech leaf disease affects American trees and raises concerns for European forests

By: Carrie Ewing, PhD Student at The Ohio State University

We are always happy to have “guest-authors” who give us an insight into their work. Carrie Ewing, PhD Student at The Ohio State University, is currently researching tree genetics to determine the plant pathogen(s) that are causing beech leaf disease (BLD), a new and seemingly lethal disease affecting American beech trees (Fagus grandifolia).  

The disease was first discovered in forests in the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. John Pogacnik, a biologist at Lake Metroparks in Ohio, first observed BLD in 2012 in northeast Ohio, U.S.A.  The disease has been spreading rapidly and has now affected forests in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York State, and Ontario, Canada.

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Happy International Day of Forests!

Written by José Bolaños and Maria Schlossmacher

This year the International Day of Forests (IDF) will address the exciting theme “Forests and Education”. It is an occasion to raise awareness, to inform and to educate a broad public, different stakeholders and forest-managers about forest-related topics.

Forests cover one third of land on Earth, and they perform crucial and vital functions around the world. Trees improve our lives both at a grand scale and at the local level. Despite those benefits, deforestation and consequences of climate change are among other great challenges for forests.

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No storm clouds without silver linings

Written by Alexander Held, Andrea Ortiz, Maria Schloßmacher

Two major storms, Eberhard and Franz, hit Germany and so its most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, last week. Experts are still assessing the full extent of the damage, but what is clear: this huge damage will have long-term impacts on forests. It also demonstrates once again the extent of enormous damages that are caused by storms and the related secondary damages like bark beetle infestation. 

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Über ökologisches Gold und Borkenkäfer im Bonner Stadtwald

Von Lisa Prior & Maria Schlossmacher

Um über die Waldarbeiten im Bonner Stadtwald aufzuklären, die vielerorts erst einmal auf Unverständnis stoßen, lud das Amt für Stadtgrün der Stadt Bonn für den Nachmittag des 19. Februar 2019 zu einem Waldspaziergang ein. Stadtförster Sebastian Korintenberg gab den interessierten Bonner BürgerInnen Einblicke in die derzeit durchgeführten Holzerntearbeiten und sprach über die Folgen des Borkenkäferbefalls.

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Learn to use the right tools for Protecting Forest Resources

Summer School in Ireland’s oldest city in June 2019

EFI’s Resilience Programme highly recommends the summer school “Protecting the Forest resource: Risk assessment and Management using Innovative Tools”, jointly organized by EFIPLANT and the Waterford Institute of Technology, taking place from 24-27 June 2019 in Waterford, Ireland.

Forests are facing mammoth challenges, which means that forestry professionals (and those to become) require the best training possible. Overall aim of the summer school programme is to learn how these measurements can be used to make assessments of the levels of forest risks and how they can be combined with other existing forest management tools.

The focus lies on the training with tools to protect forest resources from different hazards. The summer school follows a highly practical approach, where the participants will be introduced and trained in the use of latest technology and techniques for assisting modern forestry professionals in decision making. Starting with an introduction to tools based on mobile phones, drones and computer-based decision support systems, the agenda continues with laboratory sessions to learn how these measurements can be used. The programme offers a mixture of field trips, lectures and laboratory work. The participants will be guided by 20 internationally recognized experts in the field of forest risk management.

An overview of the detailed program you find here , the sessions on Tuesday, June 25 are open for day attendees.

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