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Category: Biodiversity

Rewilding: navigating below the tip of the iceberg

By Davide Pettenella and Mauro Masiero (University of Padova, Italy)

In recent times, the tip of a large iceberg called rewilding has been spotted in the vast ocean of nature management and ecological restoration. Profound global and local changes have shaken this iceberg from its glacial platform, sparking ample interest in rewilding approaches. Although most attention is directed to the iceberg’s visible tip, rewilding conceals deeper complexities below the surface. Unveiling hidden depths would help a better understanding of rewilding as an emerging, wicked topic.

What are different pathways to rewilding and how do these approaches build on various ideas of human-nature relationships? We will embark on a journey to navigate these depths onboard a “socioeconomic and policy” submarine. Join our crew to gain a perspective different from – or, at least, complementary to – more ordinary periscopes.

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Improving biodiversity monitoring in sustainable forest management

Several decades ago, FOREST EUROPE developed a set of Criteria and Indicators (C&I) for SFM, that was improved and revised over the years. Those are publicly available, and countries use it as a very important tool for national and European forest policy, and for the development of their National Forest Inventories. Based on the information obtained by these C&I, the State of Europe’s Forests report is regularly published every five years.  

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Video: Increase biodiversity to strengthen oak resilience

Climate change and its impacts on forest ecosystems, such as the increase of pests, poses a great threat to oaks. Fortunately, several ecological measures are available to improve oak vitality. Parasitoid insects, for example, are natural antagonists of leave-eating caterpillars and can help control forest pests. In the “Oak Resilience” project, the state agency Wald und Holz NRW investigated parasitoids in selected study areas in North-Rhine Westphalia

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„10 Must-Knows” als Wegweiser für mehr Biodiversität

Neuer Policy Report mit Kapitel zum Erhalt von Biodiversität und vielfältiger Waldnutzung 

Von der noch unentdeckten Artenvielfalt über widerstandsfähige Wälder bis zu den Auswirkungen des Lebensmittelkonsums auf die Natur: 64 Expertinnen und Experten haben jetzt ihr Wissen und ihre Empfehlungen gebündelt und in Form von „10 Must-Knows aus der Biodiversitätsforschung“ für 2024 veröffentlicht. Der neue Bericht des Leibniz-Forschungsnetzwerks Biodiversität zeigt Politik und Gesellschaft konkrete Wege auf, wie die biologische Vielfalt in Deutschland auf lokaler, nationaler und europäischer Ebene wirksam erhalten und nachhaltig genutzt werden kann, und wie sich dadurch zugleich das Klima schützen lässt. Eines der 10 Must-Knows Kapitel bezieht sich dabei auch konkret auf den Umgang mit unseren Wäldern. Mit der Veröffentlichung steuern die Forschenden aktuelle, wissenschaftliche Fakten zur Debatte um die nationale Biodiversitätsstrategie bei, die noch vor der nächsten Weltnaturkonferenz (CBD COP 15) im Herbst 2024 verabschiedet werden soll.

Nach der großen Resonanz auf die 2022 erstmals veröffentlichten „10 Must-Knows aus der Biodiversitätsforschung“ haben jetzt Forschende aus insgesamt 52 deutschen und internationalen Forschungseinrichtungen – einschließlich des European Forest Institutes – ihre Expertise aus den Umwelt-, Lebens-, Raum-, Sozial-, Geistes- und Wirtschaftswissenschaften in die Neufassung eingebracht. „Bereits heute überschreiten wir planetare Belastungsgrenzen, sowohl bei der globalen Erwärmung als auch beim Verlust biologischer Vielfalt. Um diesen Krisen zu begegnen, braucht es gemeinsame Antworten. Wir wissen, dass der Schutz der Biodiversität wesentlich dazu beitragen kann, den Klimawandel abzuschwächen, etwa durch artenreiche Wälder und wiedervernässte Moore, die Kohlenstoff speichern. Nur wenn Maßnahmen zum Schutz der Biodiversität stärker in den Fokus rücken, kann es gelingen, gegen beide Krisen zugleich vorzugehen“, sagt Dr. Kirsten Thonicke, Leitautorin und stellvertretende Abteilungsleiterin am Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung (PIK), die das Forschungsnetzwerk koordiniert. 

Auch das European Forest Institute in Bonn steuert mit Forschungserkenntnissen zu Waldbewirtschaftung und Biodiversitätsschutz zu dieser Neufassung bei. In Kapitel 5 „Vielfältige Nutzung von Waldökosystemen und Biodiversitätschutz in Einklang bringen”, erläutern 7 Wissenschaftler*innen aus 5 verschiedenen Institutionen, darunter Leitautor Mats Nieberg und Ko-autor*innen Trishna Dutta und Andreas Schuck vom European Forest Institute, wie unterschiedliche Bedürfnisse und Anforderungen an Wälder integriert werden können.

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In praise of contrarian thinking

By Sven Wunder, Douglas Sheil & Robert Nasi

Diverging forecasts and climate science

A Danish proverb says: “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future”. More so in a world that seems more uncertain than ever, and where we cannot always rely on the past to infer changes into the future. But how do we societally deal with the inevitable diversity of views about the world’s future? Are we making the best of available intellectual capital to benefit humanity? Or are we, in the name of popular convenience, underutilizing the power of critical reflection and innovative contrarian ideas? Do we need more alternative perspectives to challenge negligent mainstream thinking? These are fundamental questions in addressing major societal crises from global economic imbalances to biodiversity loss, climate change and the approaching tipping points in planetary-wide mechanisms.

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Same trees, different perspectives: using a marteloscope to present forests in a new light

What do you see when you look at a forest? The first, obvious answer could be “trees”, but the more nuanced reality is that forests have different meanings and values to different people. Trees provide important habitats to animals, such as cavities for bats to sleep in and branches for birds to build their nests on – an aspect often emphasised by ecologists and nature conservation managers. At the same time, trees offer valuable resources for producing furniture, paper, construction materials and other objects made of wood – a perspective often adopted by forest owners and foresters.

Where these perspectives clash, societal conflicts may arise – a topic that was examined in real life by students of the Liebfrauenschule in Bonn, Germany, involved in the EU-funded project MULTIPLIERS, coordinated by the University of Bonn. From 19-22 February, a group of 55 eighth graders visited a so-called “marteloscope” in Bonn’s Kottenforst nature reserve.

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The future of sustainable forest management grows with TRANSFORMIT

New collaborative project launches to integrate societal demands with biodiversity conservation

Whether we witness branches coming back to life as spring unfolds, observe squirrels swiftly disappearing into the woods, or notice the crisp sound of boots on snow-covered trails—forest experiences hold meaning to us in many ways. But how else can we value forests?

Clean water sources, fresh air, healthy soil, flood control, climate change mitigation, and the survival of wildlife—all of these contribute to the relational value of forests. This goes beyond mere timber; forests embody a wealth of long-lasting socio-ecological benefits. We deeply rely on forests for social, economic, and cultural wellbeing. Balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders and reconciling short-term gains with long-term interests has been a historical challenge in the relationship between societal demands and forest conservation efforts. It is a dilemma that risks fueling environmental conflict and pessimism across the world.

Integrative Forest Management (IFM) emerges as a practical solution to address these conflicts. IFM seeks to harmonize the ecological and socio-economic demands for forests through sustainable forest management, aiming to enhance biodiversity while equally ensuring economic viability. Over the past 13 years, European Forest Institute’s (EFI) exploration and research into IFM through projects like Integrate (2011-2013), Integrate+ (2013-2016), INFORMA (2017-2020), and FoReSite (2020-2022), have been proactive. While the concept of IFM is well-established, it currently lacks operational elements in terms of verification, monitoring, guidance, and Europe-wide implementation. This gap is what led us to initiate the new TRANSFORMIT project. 

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Forests do not end at national borders – how can united knowledge help Europe’s forests?

This is a report made by three representatives from the International Forestry Students’ Association during their voluntary work for the HLPD 2023 organization.

On November 9, government representatives and practitioners from all over Europe came together in Berlin for the second FOREST EUROPE High-Level Talks to address one question: How can sustainable forest management help make Europe’s forests more resilient to the consequences of climate change?

For those who don’t know, FOREST EUROPE is a pan-European forest policy process at the ministerial level in which guidelines, criteria, and indicators of sustainable forest management are developed. And we had the opportunity to be the youth representatives.

What have we seen? What are the bullet points we, the Youth, take from this day full of panel discussions? This is our perspective on the topic of „growing healthier forests“ and the efforts the government representatives make in their countries.

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The Vaia storm five years later – lessons for forests and people

By Alberto Pauletto, FSC Italia

At the end of October 2018, tropical storm Vaia brought heavy rains and winds of up to 200 km/h to Northern Italy, killing 37 people and unleashing damage estimated at almost 5 billion euros. Vaia also affected parts of France, Croatia, Austria, and Switzerland, but Italy sustained the worst forestry destruction in its recent history, with more than 14 million trees felled. The Asiago Oltre Vaia project was an initiative of the Municipality of Asiago  –  with the support of numerous entities such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Italia, Treedom, and the University of Padua  –  designed to draw lessons from the catastrophe to create more resistant and resilient forests for the future.

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