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Category: Climate change

Wald im Wandel: mein Interview mit dem Wandermagazin

Der Wald bietet Antworten auf eine Vielzahl von sozialen und ökologischen Fragen. Forschungsprojekte des European Forest Institute haben jedoch festgestellt, dass die breite Öffentlichkeit über forstbezogene Themen häufig nicht umfassend informiert ist. Dazu gehört zum Beispiel, dass Menschen gerne Holzmöbel kaufen, aber gleichzeitig eine Bewirtschaftung der Wälder oft kritisch gesehen wird. Wir brauchen eine engagierte Kommunikation zwischen dem Forstsektor und der breiten Gesellschaft, um diese Verständnislücke zu schließen. Als internationale Wissenschaftsorganisation arbeitet EFI auf unterschiedlichen Ebenen (von lokal zu global) und mit vielfältigen Akteuren und Interessengruppen. Dazu zählt natürlich die Wissenschaft, aber auch Forstpraktiker*innen sowie Vertreter*innen von Politik, Gesellschaft und den Medien. Über die Veröffentlichung von wissenschaftlicher Literatur hinaus sind wir auch offen für den Austausch von Erfahrungen und Informationen über nicht-akademische Plattformen. Ein Beispiel dafür ist das Wandermagazin, eine etablierte deutsche Zeitschrift, die über Wandern und Erholung in der Natur berichtet. Sein Publikum ist typischerweise sehr an der Natur interessiert, aber nicht unbedingt fachkundig. Die Redakteurin Svenja Walter hat sich deshalb entschlossen, eine Sonderausgabe mit dem Schwerpunkt Wald in Deutschland herauszugeben. Neben einem Förster und einem Naturschützer wurde ich interviewt, um eine Einführung zum Zustand der Wälder in Europa und speziell in Deutschland zu geben.

Den Artikel können Sie hier lesen (auf Deutsch). Ich wünsche Ihnen eine anregende Lektüre!

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Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects

What does climate change adaptation look like in Southern France? Is there anything we – in Central Europe – can learn from our colleagues in the South? Is risk management an issue there and do forest risk experts know the European Forest Risk Facility?

These were the questions – among others – that I had before attending the international symposium “Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects” on 19-20 November 2019 in Toulouse, France.

The symposium was organized by the FORECCAST project, partially funded through the EU LIFE project,  aiming to provide Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park producers and forest managers with means to build a forest management strategy that takes into account the impact of climate change. Goal of the project is to raise awareness of the challenges posed by global change among stakeholders, elected representatives and the general public within that region.

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How and why prescribed burning mitigates bushfire losses

by Neil Burrows and Rick Sneeuwjagt

Considerable publicity is recently being given to an article by titled “Why prescribed burns don’t stop wildfires” (published in Sydney Morning Herald, in New Matilda, and also WAToday on 22 January 2020), written by a botanist and a molecular biologist from Curtin University in Western Australia. They argue against the use of fuel reduction burning in bushfire management because it does not “stop bushfires”.

The article worries us, because in our opinion it could give rise to dangerous fire management policies, a continuation of the cycle of devastating bushfires in Australia, and to further losses of lives and beautiful forests.

Thus we decided to write a reply to the publication, to clarify some facts and spread important information on prescribed burning based on scientific research and practical experience.

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Wer ist schuld am Waldsterben?! Eine deutsche Debatte

Der derzeitige Zustand der Wälder in Deutschland wird hitzig in den Medien diskutiert, besonders in 2019, da Waldschäden erstmals großflächig auch für das ungeübte Auge sichtbar wurden. Die Debatte scheint dabei zu einem Schauplatz des verhärteten Konflikts von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft zu werden, den wir schon seit Jahrzehnten immer wieder in den Medien beobachten. Tippt man die Begriffe „Waldschäden“ oder „Wald im Klimawandel“ in eine Suchmaschine ein, wird man überschüttet mit zahllosen Artikeln, Kommentaren, Positionspapieren und Blogeinträgen verschiedener Einzelpersonen und Institutionen. Um die Struktur der Debatte und die Argumentation der unterschiedlichen Positionen zu verstehen, habe ich einen genaueren Blick auf den medialen Diskurs geworfen. Hierbei habe ich vor allem die Erzählstränge von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft, die Herleitung ihres Standpunktes und die jeweilige Rhetorik untersucht. Um die Fülle an Publikationen zu diesem Thema zu bewältigen, habe ich repräsentative Akteure von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft ausgewählt und ihre Onlinepräsenz und Publikationen untersucht. Natürlich handelt es sich bei den Ergebnissen um eine Verallgemeinerung, die nicht jedem einzelnen Akteur gerecht zu werden vermag. Dennoch zeigte sich ein interessantes Muster des Diskurses. 

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“Unser Wald im Klimawandel” – Kurzfilm zur Waldbewirtschaftung in NRW

Die Landesregierung NRW hat einen kurzen Film veröffentlicht, in dem der Zustand unserer Wälder in NRW näher beleuchtet wird. Dabei geht es auch um die kurz- sowie langfristigen Maßnahmen des NRW-Umweltministeriums, um diesen Zustand zu verbessern.

Ein Drittel der Fläche von NRW ist mit Wäldern bedeckt. Diese werden nach dem forstlichen Nachhaltigkeitsprinzip bewirtschaftet, aber die durch den Klimawandel ausgelösten Veränderungen stellen große Schwierigkeiten für die Forstwirtschaft dar. Dazu gehören vor allem Stürme, Trockenheit und Borkenkäfer, aber auch viele andere Herausforderungen.

Im Video werden kurz- sowie langfristige Hilfen für die Waldbesitzer vorgestellt – und viele weitere Informationen und digitale Karten über unsere Wälder sind auf dem neuen Waldinfo-Portal https://www.waldinfo.nrw.de/ zu finden.

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Bushfires, Wildfires and Damaging fires – Rinse and Repeat or Risk Reduction and Resilience?

Dr. Peter F. Moore, Forestry Officer, Forest Fire Management & Disaster Risk Reduction, in the FAO-Forestry Department originates from Australia and posted the following statement in response to the ongoing wildfire crisis:

“In January 1994 there were four fire related deaths, hundreds of thousands of hectares burnt and fingers of fire crept into the city of Sydney.

  • Parliament, the cabinet and the coroner held inquiries and released reports on the reasons, causes of death and the possible means of avoiding the same problems in the future.

On Christmas Day 2001, the concerns of fire authorities in New South Wales were realised – in full measure. The lead-up to summer conditions had been drier than normal. December 25, 2001 was hot with temperatures well over 30C; very low humidity of less than 15 per cent; and winds from the west. These bush fires burnt nearly 700,000ha, with 115 houses and many other buildings destroyed and scores of others damaged.

  • And Parliament and the coroner held inquiries and released reports on the reasons and the causes …
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The potential of recovering degraded pine forests

by Alessandra Lagomarsino

Did you know that worldwide forests each year absorb 30% of the CO2 emitted globally by fossil fuels and are huge carbon sinks, thus contributing to climate change mitigation and storing carbon in different pools (i.e., biomass, soil, dead organic matter, or litter)? However, when a forest is degraded with many dead, fallen and damaged trees, it does not remove enough CO2 from the atmosphere to compensate the emissions due to the decomposition of dead trees and soil organic matter.

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Networks of trust – the foundation for wildfire management

Written by Laura Nikinmaa & Maria Schlossmacher

Imagine having a team of chefs cooking Eggs Benedict. One of them has only ever made omelets; the other one has all the ingredients but no recipe. The third one knows how to do it, but they have been forbidden to cook anything else than scrambled eggs by the owner of the restaurant. On top of everything, they are not talking to one another because they are all competing for promotion. The outcome? You guessed it, anything but Eggs Benedict, the restaurant owner is enraged, and none of the chefs gets a promotion.

While the restaurant world is known to be fiery, the actual world of wildfires is straight up in flames. We have seen abnormally active fire season in 2019 in many countries. Poland had almost three times more fires compared to the 10-year average this year, Germany more than five times more, and France more than seven times more (EFFIS). The cherry on top was the United Kingdom, which had eight times more fires in 2019 than in the 10-year average. It was therefore fitting that the SURE project workshop (“pro-active fire management”) was organized back to back with the England and Wales Wildfire Forum’s (EWWF) Wildfire Conference from 20th to 22nd of November in Cardiff, Wales. The EWWF conference had more than 180 participants from 14 different countries, out of which almost 50 stayed to participate in the SURE workshop on the 22nd. The theme of the conference was “Manage the fuel – Reduce the Risk”. The speakers consisted of experts from practice and research, from fire and rescue services to forest administrates, and the topics varied from practical examples to the latest knowledge we have on wildfire behavior.

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“Ohne Bäume, keine Träume” (Without trees, no dreams)


Three days prior to the start of the UN Climate conference in Madrid, the fourth global climate strike initiated by the “Fridays for Future” movement was held on Friday 29th of November 2019, the same day as “Black Friday”. Worldwide 7 million people in 150 countries protested for more climate protection while simultaneously against excessive consumerism, as it was Black Friday.
In Germany, 630.000 people in around 520 places went on the streets to demonstrate especially under the banner “Neustart Klima” (Restart Climate) against the new German climate programme, which was under ballot in the federal council of Germany at the same time. The currently planned climate progamme is widely named in the media and by protestors “Klimapaketchen” (small climate package) as critics consider it slack and not efficient enough.

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Bitten by the same bug – German spruce in jeopardy

“Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom” (ScienceDaily, 2019), “French forests scarred as heatwaves bring bark beetle infestation” (Euronews, 2019a), “Czech forest owners face $1.7 billion loss this year from bark beetle crisis” (Euronews, 2019b) and finally “Merkel promises €500m to revitalise German forests” (Guardian, 2019) – these were only some of the many forest-related headlines in European news in the past months.

It is obvious: How weather affects our forests, would not have made it to the news ten years ago – but following the unprecedented hot temperatures, long dry spells as well as severe storm events in Central Europe, everybody was talking about the state of our forests. These extreme weather events are a not only a huge burden for human health but also for entire natural ecosystems. In Germany, extreme temperatures contributed to the extremely dire state of about 180,000 ha of forested area and taxpayer support of 800 million Euros for reforestation measures (FAZ, 2019). In the past, evolution gave flora and fauna the opportunity to adapt to changing environmental conditions and climates but the pace and scale of climatic changes that we experience today, give our natural world a mountain to climb, regardless of the money thrown at the problem.

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