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Category: Bioeconomy

An Orwellian debate on the national parks in Slovakia: What can a scientist do in a post-truth era?

Should we foster commodity production or biodiversity in our forests? Or try to integrate them both? When working on and with forests, certain tensions and occasional conflicts between representatives of forest management and nature conservation are a notorious part of our lives. In some places, the animosities are more obvious than in others, though integrative approaches are obviously gaining attraction. I share here my recent observations from Slovakia, my home country with diverse forests passing from the High Tatras with an iconic national park to the Danube Lowland with dry oak forests. Recent political decisions concerning the fate of our national parks upheaved society once again and made me realize how data and knowledge can be misused to back up any policy in place, rather than provide impartial grounds for knowledge-based decisions.

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From salvage logging to recovery – visiting the Bohemian Forests after bark beetle attacks

Jumping into the deep end – or better: jumping right into deep forest: fieldworks are one of the best parts of my PhD project with Wageningen University and the Joint Research Centre. This time, together with more than 30 junior and senior researchers from all over Europe and more than 40 additional virtual participants we had the first project meeting of the RESONATE project from 4th – 6th October in Kostelec nad Černými lesy (Czech Republic). RESONATE, short for “Resilient forest value chains – enhancing resilience through natural and socio-economic responses” is a project lead by European Forest Institute, with 20 European partners. The project meeting was hosted by the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences of Czech University of Life Sciences. It took place in the castle of Kostelec and Černými lesy, operated by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, and surrounded by the Bohemian Forest. One of the most exciting parts of the event was the excursion, where we could see the effects of recent large scale bark beetle outbreaks.

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Forest recovery after large and severe disturbances in Slovenia

By Matteo Cerioni, Gal Fidej, Patrick Vallet, Marcus Lindner & Gesche Schifferdecker

After seeing thousands of hectares of spruce forest die after disturbances all over Europe in the past years, it seems like spruce is our problem child – at least in Central and Eastern Europe. Spruce died in monocultures, but was also more affected than other species by e.g. storm and bark beetle damages in mixed forest stands. This had and still has both significant ecological as well as financial impacts because spruce is an economically important species.

When looking at the future – and the increased forest disturbances we can expect due to climate change – it is crucial to find out how forests recover after being damaged. Looking at different forest areas in Slovenia hit by severe disturbances, a group of researchers from the Department for Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources at University of Ljubljana focused on the following questions: How do mixed forests with varying share of spruce recover after ice storms, bark beetle damage, and windthrow? Which regeneration characteristics are useful to assess the forest recovery? And how does forest management influence both the impact of disturbances as well as the regeneration process?

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Die Neue Europäische Waldstrategie – Bevormundung oder eine Vision für alle?

Nachhaltige Waldbewirtschaftung durch Flächenprämien fördern, die Holzernte nur noch innerhalb von Nachhaltigkeitsgrenzen durchführen und finanzielle Unterstützung für besondere Umweltleistungen garantieren – dies sind nur einige Punkte der neuen europäischen Waldstrategie für 2030, die schon in ihrem Entstehungsprozess in Deutschland und auch in vielen anderen europäischen Ländern kontrovers diskutiert wurde. Die Waldstrategie für 2030 wurde vor Kurzem von der EU-Kommission als eine der Leitinitiativen des europäischen „Green Deal“ auf den Weg gebracht. Sie hat das Ziel, die vielfältigen Funktionen der Wälder miteinzubeziehen, auch in Referenz zur EU-Biodiversitätsstrategie für 2030.

Während Umweltschützer*innen den zu großen Einfluss der Holzwirtschaft und der nationalen Regierungen bemängeln, der in den Augen eines manchen ein „weich gespültes Papier“ zum Resultat hat, entgegnen andere, die Strategie ginge zu weit: Besonders Förster*innen und Waldbesitzer*innen sehen sich teilweise in der Bewirtschaftung ihrer Wälder bevormundet und fürchten Enteignung und/oder zukünftige Abhängigkeit von EU-Subventionen.

Diese und zahlreiche weitere Perspektiven wurden am 23. September in einem Webinar zur europäischen Waldstrategie beleuchtet und diskutiert, das vom deutschen Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft sowie der Vertretung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen bei der Europäischen Union organisiert wurde.

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Combining silviculture and ecology to benefit our forests – the Irish way

Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe that experienced almost complete deforestation in recent history with just over 1% forest cover remaining at the beginning of the 1900s. Since then, an impressive effort has been made by the State of Ireland and other stakeholders to increase forest cover – but the Irish plan to plant forests has also faced a lot of criticism. I have spoken with three experts on Irish forests: Jonathan Spazzi, Forestry Development Officer working for Teagasc, Aileen O’Sullivan, Environmental Technical Lead for Coillte Forest, as well as Padraig O Tuama, private forestry consultant specialising in clients interested in Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) and former task leader for researching and promoting Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) in Coillte Teo.

They have all joined forces to promoting the Continuous Cover Forest management (CCF) approach, to increase species diversity and forest conservation in Irish forests while as well enhancing timber value. As a proper tool to support their efforts both Teagasc and Coillte, in collaboration with ProSilva Ireland, have decided to establish several marteloscope sites in different forest types. Check out this interview to learn what has happened so far in Irish forestry, how the three would like to shape the future of their forests, and what they expect from working with marteloscopes.

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Mit Forschung Waldzukunft in Nordrhein-Westfalen gestalten

Umweltministerin Heinen-Esser: „Die Wissenschaft leistet einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Waldbewirtschaftung im Klimawandel und bei der Wiederbewaldung der geschädigten Flächen.“

Die Entwicklung der Waldzukunft stand im Mittelpunkt der zweitägigen virtuellen Forschungskonferenz, die heute Mittag zu Ende gegangen ist. Rund 60 Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler diskutierten aktuelle Erkenntnisse und Forschungsansätze. Übergeordnetes Ziel war und ist der Aufbau klimastabiler Wälder mit ihren vielfältigen Funktionen für die Gesellschaft. „Die Wissenschaft leistet einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Waldbewirtschaftung im Klimawandel und bei der Wiederbewaldung der geschädigten Flächen“, betonte Umweltministerin Ursula Heinen-Esser die Rolle der Wissenschaft bei der Bewältigung der anstehenden Herausforderungen anlässlich der Veranstaltung. 

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The Art of the “Green” Deal

New study on policy pathways for a third EU Forest Strategy out now

The European Green Deal is being promoted as a cornerstone for European policy over the next five years, setting out an ambitious package of measures that aim to facilitate a sustainable green transition in the EU. One of the many actions highlighted under the Green Deal is the third EU Forest Strategy, a non-legally binding (or soft) policy instrument for which the European Commission will prepare a proposal in 2021.

The ongoing policy discussion in Brussels is set against the backdrop of a new EU Biodiversity Strategy, an EU taxonomy for sustainable activities, the 2050 Climate Change Mitigation Strategy, the Circular Economy Action Plan and the recently adopted Adaptation Strategy. All these initiatives (and more) are being pushed as components of the Green Deal. However, whether and how these initiatives and strategies will influence the new EU Forest Strategy is still an unknown.

We have set out to investigate how forests have been framed in the Green Deal and to cast light on its potential role in the development of the third EU Forest Strategy – and our paper The ‘Art of the “Green” Deal – Policy pathways for a third EU Forest Strategy’ summarizing our study results has just been published in Forest Policy and Economics.

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Register now: Integrate Communication Workshop on “Building a Narrative” on 21st May 2021

How should we best manage our forests? This is the guiding question behind the virtual communication workshop series the secretariat of the European Integrate Network is initiating. Being aware that there is no single answer to this question, in our first training on “Building a Narrative”, we would like to engage with you to develop narratives for your proposed solutions and effectively communicate with those who might have different perspectives. The workshop will provide the opportunities for exchanging perspectives and listen to the stories others tell to define the best communications approaches to respond to the guiding question.

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Wird in Europa tatsächlich mehr Holz geerntet? Neue Studie stellt Forschungsergebnisse in Frage

Interview mit Forstexperten zu neuen Forschungsergebnissen

Heute ist mit “Concerns about reported harvests in European forests” in Nature eine vom European Forest Institute (EFI) koordinierte Antwort auf die umstrittene Nature-Studie von Ceccherini et al. “Abrupt increase in harvested forest area over Europe after 2015” (Abrupte Zunahme der geernteten Waldfläche in Europa nach 2015) veröffentlicht worden, die deren Ergebnisse stark in Zweifel zieht. In dem Antwort-Artikel zeigen EFI’s Direktor Marc Palahí und 29 Kolleg*innen aus 13 europäischen Ländern, dass die von der Gemeinsamen Forschungsstelle der Europäischen Kommission berichteten großen Waldverluste vor allem auf methodische Fehler zurückzuführen sind.

Mit Jürgen Bauhus, Marc Hanewinkel (beide Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg), Marcus Lindner (EFI), Rupert Seidl und Cornelius Senf (beide Technische Universität München) haben wir verschiedene an der Antwort-Studie beteiligte deutsche Wissenschaftler befragt, um die wissenschaftlichen Ergebnisse in einen größeren waldpolitischen, ökonomischen und ökologischen Kontext einordnen zu können und die methodischen Aspekte etwas genauer zu beleuchten.

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Webinar “Policy challenges of integrating biodiversity conservation in forest management – the way forward”

On March 30, the European Network Integrate hosted the webinar “Policy challenges of integrating biodiversity conservation in forest management – the way forward”, gathering over 100 attendees. The webinar brought together forest policy experts from the French, German, Italian and Swiss governments to compare country perspectives and lessons learned on how to advance forest biodiversity conservation in Europe, in relation to the new EU Forest Strategy.

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