Coping with the aftermath of storm Vaia in North-East Italy

by Silvia Abruscato, Gherardo Chirici, Giorgio Matteucci, and Davide Pettenella

On October 27-30th 2018, the storm Vaia hit North-eastern Italy with peak winds of 200 km/h, which compares to a very strong hurricane, and very relevant rainfall. Vaia has not only been the largest single windstorm event in recorded history causing serious damages to the forests in Italy. The storm was also a singular event that has raised unprecedented public attention because it hit some of the most beautiful and most productive forests in Italy located in the Dolomites Mountains, where several UNESCO world heritage sites full of history, culture, and traditions are located. Finally, Vaia caused enormous economic losses: the spruce and fir dominated mountain forests in the region are stocking twice the average biomass per hectare and their growth rates are also approximately double of the Italian average.

After the first shock and quick response to the damages, it became clear that a “multi-actor collaboration” is needed to develop a strategic approach to deal with the aftermath. Consequently, on February 8th 2019, a national congress was held in the Belluno province in the heart of the damaged area to discuss among the Italian scientific and civil community the impact, management and response perspectives after the Vaia storm. The conference was organized by Università di Padova – Dipartimento TESAF, Fondazione G. Angelini, Comune di Belluno, and SISEF – Società Italiana di Selvicoltura ed Ecologia Forestale. Around 600 participants and a large media visibility demonstrated the exceptionally strong interest in the case. Presentations and video are available here.

How to translate the global commitments into actions

“Go beyond your own border”, was the statement delivered by Hedwig Bruggeman, leader of the Wageningen Centre for Development Innovation, during a plenary session at the Global Landscape Forum (GLF). The event focused on the promotion of sustainable landscape management, based on a cross-disciplinary and inter-cultural approach.
The Global Landscape Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform led by the Centre for International Forestry Research. GLF 2018 took place in the city of Bonn on the 1st and 2nd of December. These days were very inspiring, filled with many stimulating discussions. Therefore, I will limit my story to the most engaging episodes, starting from a forest restoration talk, to an indigenous leaders’ dialogue and finishing with input from my EFI colleagues Jose Bolaños, who attended a discussion of the pillars on how to reach collaborative actions. As a junior researcher from the EFI Bonn office and active volunteer for GLF, I was involved in the organization and coordination of its very active Youth in Landscape delegation.

Ways to mainstream Biodiversity and Forest Education – COFO 24

FAO Headquarters held the 24TH Committee on Forestry and the 6th World Forest Week.

After I had my Italian breakfast, with a cappuccino and a croissant, I walked into the FAO atrium and the ambiance was welcoming the international guests into a colorful and ”forested” scenario.

The conference presented a rich programme including the COFO 24th ’s plenary sessions, and the 6th World Forest Week , characterized by high-level dialogues and open-discussions in the side events.

Nature protection in forest management: mandatory and voluntary tools in Europe

Nature is the diversity of living organisms on Earth. It constitutes an essential element for human well-being and for ecosystems services (such as food production, water cycles, soil fertility).

In Europe several studies have demonstrated a steady loss of animal and plant species related to forest, caused for example by intensive land use, invasive alien species introduction, pollution and global warming (EEA short report on Biodiversity, 2008). Maintenance of biodiversity in forests will support its resilience to natural and human pressures. It contributes for example to the mitigation of raising temperatures and to food security.

I have recently been working on several mandatory and voluntary tools supporting nature conservation in forests, and I would like to introduce some of the most important here.