Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we have begun to reshape the way we think about many things including our work lives, social lives, and health. But what about biodiversity? After weeks of facing the same view from our home office, some of us have started to notice the biodiversity of our gardens and become avid new birdwatchers, running to grab our binoculars whenever we see a new species. Others have started visiting the forest more often and have found peace and comfort in the biodiversity it offers. However, the link between biodiversity and the COVID-19 crisis is much larger than what goes on in our backyards. With the theme of biodiversity, this World Environment Day urges us to address this link and take urgent action in order to safeguard the diversity of life on the planet, and ultimately our own.
Category: Environmental movements
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.
“And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul.” -John Muir
Forests have more to offer than timber and wood products. Through its multifunctional nature, it provides several other goods and services such as carbon sequestration, erosion control and the provision of clean water. These benefits which people obtain from forests can collectively be referred to as “forest ecosystem services”.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) 2005 report classifies ecosystem services into three categories:
- Provisioning services (e.g. food, fresh water, firewood)
- Regulatory services (e.g. climate regulation, carbon sequestration)
- Cultural ecosystem services (nonmaterial benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences)
Written by Michael Herrmann, ForestFireWatch and Alexander Held
„One firefighter within the first 15 minutes is worth more in the forest than 100 firefighters after an hour” – motto of Polish forest fire protection services, emphasizing the importance of initial attack
From 6-7 June 2019, Polish forest officers from the State Forests organization, firefighter and representatives of the Forest Research Institute met with members of the German volunteer organization “ForestFireWatch” for an exchange of knowledge and experience in Rzepin (Forest District), Poland. Main objective of the meeting was the exchange of experience in the field of wildfire prevention.
This blog post was translated and is now available in English here
Letzte Woche hat das Magazin Science eine viel beachtete Studie der Arbeitsgruppe von Prof. Crowther vom Institut für Integrative Biologie der ETH Zürich publiziert, in der mithilfe von Satellitenaufnahmen, Felddaten und Computermodellen das enorme Potential von großflächiger Waldvermehrung für den globalen Klimaschutz herausgestellt wurde.
Das Besondere an dieser Studie ist der Fokus auf „Restoration“, also Wiederbewaldung. Es gibt viele Abschätzungen zu CO2 Minderungspotenzialen durch Aufforstungen, und es ist wichtig, bei solchen Abschätzungen den Landbedarf einer wachsenden Weltbevölkerung sowie aus anderen Sektoren realistisch abzuschätzen (Canadell and Schulze 2014). Die Autoren der Studie haben daher von der global theoretisch möglichen Waldfläche den Flächenbedarf für Landwirtschaft und Siedlungen abgezogen. Als Resultat ergab sich eine riesige Fläche von fast 1 Mrd ha für potenzielle Wiederbewaldung.
Written by Joshua Amaitum Elukut
“When we pay attention to nature’s music, we find that everything on earth contributes to its harmony.” – Hazrat Inayat Khan
Twenty first century cities are characterized by tall skyscrapers, high residential densities, improved public transport infrastructure, as well as buildings of historical heritage. More people are moving from rural to urban areas, with the proportion of global urban population set to increase from 14% in 1900 to over 66% in 2025.
It is unfortunate that despite this trend, many urban areas lack adequate green infrastructure thus the ratio of green areas to built up areas is low. This gives inhabitants the feeling that they live in a ‘concrete jungle’ and are divorced from the natural world, contrary to earlier times when trees had a dominant influence upon human life and were sacred in many cultures.
During the meeting of the European Network Integrate in Toruń, Poland, Sanna Kasurinen, from the Finnish Forest Centre, presented the METSO-programme, an initiative aiming to halt the ongoing decrease of biodiversity of forest habitats and species in Finnish forests. The Forest Biodiversity Programme in particular addresses private forest owners. The overall objective is that based on a voluntary agreement, nature conservation is enhanced and communication improved on biodiversity of forest habitats and ecosystem services amongst stakeholders.
Von Klaus Striepen
Das Netzwerk der Marteloskope in Europa wächst immer weiter und damit auch die Ideen für deren Einsatzmöglichkeiten. Im Rahmen des europäischen LIFE+ Naturschutzprojektes „Villewälder“ wurde erstmals eine Übung für Bonner Bürgerinnen und Bürger durchgeführt. Diese wurde in Zusammenarbeit mit der Volkshochschule Bonn (Adult Education Center) organisiert. Die Veranstaltung fand bei wunderbarem Frühlingswetter am ersten Aprilwochenende 2019 im Marteloskop Jägerhäuschen statt, einem Eichenmischwald im Waldgebiet Kottenforst nahe der Großstadt Bonn. Die Betreuung der Teilnehmer erfolgte durch die Mitarbeiter des LIFE+ Projektes, Klaus Striepen vom Regionalforstamt Rhein-Sieg-Erft und Peter Tröltzsch von der Biologischen Station Bonn/ Rhein-Erft.
Every couple of years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO) publishes a series of reports under the name of The State of the World’s Forests (SOFO). These documents compile current information on key issues concerning the forest sector to facilitate decision-making and management processes in relation to the world’s forests.
The last SOFO, published in 2018, for the first time ever discusses the role of urban forests under the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In response to the accelerated urbanisation coupled with climate change dynamics, urban forests are viewed as a valuable contribution to “make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” (SDG 11). Both in theory and practice, urban forests and trees have a positive impact on urban environmental conditions and citizens´ livelihoods and well-being.
Who does’t know the adventures of Asterix and Obelix? These two friends and their fellow villagers are constantly trying to defend their way of life against the never-ending attempts from outsiders to destroy it. Stories like this have occurred throughout history all across the planet, but luckily most of them are peaceful. This is a story about resilience; not only of forests, but mainly of people.