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Category: Climate change

Wildfire Diaries Episode VII: “The living proof of the value of exchange”

The latest edition of the Wildifire Diaries by Vallfirest starring Alex Held, Senior Expert of Fire Management, Silviculture and Wildlife at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and project leader of “Waldbrand-Klima-Resilienz” (Forestfires-Climate-Resilience , in short: WKR).

In this episode Alex chats about how he started as a firefighter in South Africa as a complete greenhorn, facing unbelievable extents of fire, but also learning about tools used for fire management he has not seen before.

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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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Global Forest Finance Pledge at the COP26: new ammunition in the fight against deforestation or just more of the same?

Under the umbrella of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) and the ongoing 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, 124 countries have just signed a Declaration on Forests and Land Use,[1] (from now on referred to as the Glasgow Declaration) as of 2 November 2021. The declaration sets out to end and reverse deforestation by 2030 and facilitate a sustainable land-use transition. Substantial progress has also been made with regards to the mobilisation of finances for forests. For instance, as part of issuing a Global Forest Finance Pledge,[2] the EU, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, South Korea, and the United States of America have announced that they will provide 12 billion USD of public climate finance between 2021-2025. This financial pledge will aim to support action on restoring degraded land, tackling wildfires, and advancing the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. It can also be noted that the national governments of 28 countries have committed to removing deforestation from the global trade of food and other agricultural products such as palm oil, soya and cocoa. These are industries that, in part, drive global deforestation (e.g., forest loss generated by the demand for agricultural land). In connection with the Glasgow Declaration, major financial companies have likewise made additional commitments to end investments in activities linked to deforestation.

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Hotspot or jackpot? RESONATE project creates resilient forests for society

Are you a forest owner or manager, policy maker or entrepreneur working on forest related topics, are you a conservation activist or a citizen interested in wood-based products? 

You might know a forest which suffered from fire or bark-beetle damages recently.  You might have been struggling with different – and sometimes conflicting – demands to the forest, no matter if it’s your forest or you are managing it. Or did you have trouble buying wood for e.g. a garden fence or your roof yet? 

If this all doesn’t apply to you, you might still be concerned about all the recent news in the media about damages to our forests in Europe. To address these challenges, the new H2020 project RESONATE aims to generate the needed knowledge and practical guidance for making ​European forests, the services they provide, and related economic activities ​more resilient to future climate change and disturbances.  

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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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From research to action: the future of Old-growth Forests in Europe

Despite making up a small fraction of forest area in Europe, primary and old-growth forests generate heated debates given their importance for biodiversity conservation and provision of many ecosystem services. However, due to the complexity surrounding these forests, discussions sometimes seem to circle indefinitely. Inputs from the latest scientific research are therefore exceptionally valuable, especially when it comes to guiding policy implementation on their protection.

On September 21st, 2021, a webinar on two recently published studies on primary and old-growth forests held by the Commission Working Group on Forests and Nature (sub-working group of the Co-coordination Group for Biodiversity and Nature) provided such an opportunity. EFI presented its recent study, Protecting old-growth forests in Europe – a review of scientific evidence to inform policy implementation. Following, José Barredo gave insight to the Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) report on Mapping and assessment of primary and old-growth forests in Europe. The Working Group, which aims to progress the process to define, map, monitor, and strictly protect EU’s primary and old-growth forests, hosted the webinar with the goal of raising awareness of the two studies among the group’s members, as well as to discuss how the scientific findings could inform their ongoing process.

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Europe´s eyes on Earth to combat climate change effects in forests

A new publication identified end-user needs and opportunities for the use of climate data in the forestry sector.

The changing climate and increasing disturbance risks due to extreme weather events present major challenges to the forestry sector in Europe. Besides affecting forest productivity, observed effects of climate change include changes in tree growth patterns, drought induced mortality and species distribution shifts. Despite being dramatically impacted by climate change, forests also play a major role in mitigating its effects.

Using climate information in forestry decision-making processes is key to increase the ability to adapt to climate change. Climate data can serve forestry stakeholders in assessing the habitat suitability of different tree species and support management against droughts and pests. Also, the provision of climate change projections to the forestry sector is valuable for long-term decisions on planting strategies and exploitation plans. At the same time, medium-term decisions, such as harvest operations, postponed/anticipated planting, soil treatment methods, timber transportation etc., can be informed by seasonal forecasts. Interestingly, the recent policy ambitions put in motion by the European Commission, through its European Green Deal objectives, highlight the importance of using climate change data.

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Friends or foes? Managing bark beetles in the 21st century

By Tomáš Hlásny, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences

Outbreaks of bark beetles have devastated vast swaths of forests across Europe, flooding media headlines and concerning forest owners, managers, policy-makers, and the public. The outbreaks affected many countries such as Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Germany, Sweden, or France and challenged not only forest management but entire societies. The unprecedented areas of dead and often salvaged trees dramatically changed historically forested environments and compromised landscape cultural values. Heavy logging and transportation of dead trees and consequent impacts on the timber market further aggravated the effects on people and the environment.

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„Grüne Infrastrukturen gemeinsam gestalten“: CLEARING HOUSE Workshop in Gelsenkirchen

Wissen Sie, was „grüne Infrastrukturen“ sind? Und welche Rolle sie in Städten spielen (sollten)? Was theoretisch und trocken klingt, sieht in der Praxis recht bunt aus: Parks und andere grüne Oasen in der Stadt gehören dazu, urban gardening-Projekte und Naturschutzgebiete. Ebenso die Linde vor unserer Tür und der Schmetterlingsflieder, der an der Autobahnauffahrt blüht.

Aber sind unsere Städte grün genug? Und profitieren alle Bürger*innen davon oder nur bestimmte Gruppen? Diskutieren Sie mit uns am 9. September 2021 im “Grünlabor” in Gelsenkirchen (Programm hier)!

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