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Category: European Union

Will 2021 be the year for forests? Implications of the upcoming EU Forest Strategy and other frameworks on forest ecosystem services

As the days grow shorter and colder, we are reminded that the final days of 2020 are just on the horizon, leaving us to reflect on the past year and make our hopes and aspirations for the following. But because we are people with a shared passion, we also make reflections and aspirations for our forests. With recent key EU policy frameworks such as the new Green Deal, Biodiversity Strategy to 2030 and the upcoming Forest Strategy, some questions might be on our minds. What are the implications of these new policies for the provision of forest ecosystem services (FES)? And what do representatives from policy, research, nature conservation as well as forest owners and managers consider to be essential in the Forest Strategy? On 7th December, the SINCERE Talks series jointly with the European Integrate Network produced the webinar “Towards an EU policy framework for forest ecosystem services – reflecting on 2020, exploring 2021” which provided a unique and exciting space to discuss these topics.

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Embrace the Green Deal!

Integrate Webinar: Green Deal’s perspectives on forests and forestry in the time of Covid and Greta

On 24 June, the Integrate Network facilitated by the European Forest Institute organised the first Integrate Webinar. The webinar focused on the European Green Deal and its impacts on forest management and protection in Europe, with a special focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation into sustainable forest management – which is the main focus of the Network.

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Downloading Europe: A Regional Comparison in the Uptake of the EU Forest Action Plan

The first EU Forest Strategy was adopted in 1998 to provide general guidelines for an EU forest policy designed to coordinate other EU forest-relevant policies. The implementation of the first strategy was done under the auspices of the EU Forest Action Plan, covering the period from 2007 to 2011. The Forest Action Plan was a tool that facilitated voluntary cooperation between EU Member States (no enforcement capabilities), with some coordinating actions being implemented by the European Commission.

The paper “Downloading Europe: A Regional Comparison in the Uptake of the EU Forest Action Plan”, published in the journal Sustainability, returns to the EU Forest Action Plan to provide further insight into how it translated into an EU Member State context. Most articles concerned with the analysis of forest-relevant policies in the EU focus on analyzing EU decision-making impacts on a national level, or vice versa, but not how Member States embrace EU strategies from a comparative perspective. This paper addresses this empirical gap and provides insight into whether Europeanization effects are comparable, irrespective of whether EU Member States are deciding upon and implementing a legally binding or non-legally binding EU policy instrument.

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Always Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth: The Case of the European Green Deal

On May 20th 2020, EFI held its first ThinkForest webinar: Science Insights to the European Green Deal and Forests. During this interactive event speakers and panelists took an in-depth look into the Green Deal, using a focus on the forest-based sector to discuss a range of topics including its objectives, weaknesses, and potential for further development. During the discussions, a key critique emerged from speakers and panelists: The Green Deal lacks clear consideration of a forest bioeconomy, which is crucial for addressing the climate, economy, and biodiversity simultaneously. The critique was met with an almost unanimous agreement by audience members, with a final poll revealing that 88% of participants thought the Green Deal should be updated to include this missing link.

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2020 World Environment Day – why biodiversity matters to all of us

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.

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Gefährliche Mixtur: Warum das Waldbrandrisiko im Frühling so hoch ist

Ein Beitrag des „Verbund Vegetationsbrand

Der Waldbrandgefahrenindex des DWD für den 21. April 2020

Nachrichtenportale und das Radio berichten davon, und auch die Wettervorhersage der Tagesschau warnt zur besten Einschaltquote vor der derzeit hohen Waldbrandgefahr. Dies ist üblicherweise ein Thema, was eher in den heißen Sommermonaten besprochen wird – doch Waldbrände halten sich genauso wenig an Monatskalender wie an Ländergrenzen. Gerade in diesen Tagen ist das Risiko für Waldbrände enorm hoch. Neben der Zeit im Hochsommer (Juli/August) gilt besonders für April eine erhöhte Waldbrandgefahr.

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EU forests after Brexit – future scenarios from four years ago

Before the Brexit referendum four years ago, when much of the media buzz revolved around the uncertain future of trade, immigration and stock markets, at the European Forest Institute we discussed its potential impact on forests and forest-related policy.

Even though there is no EU forest policy, there are a number of other policy instruments that directly or indirectly affect forests and their management. These range from the EU Timber Regulation or the EU Birds and Habitats Directives over the FLEGT and REDD programmes to the Common Agriculture Policy, all of which could be impacted by a possible Brexit.

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Disaster Risk Management via app?

The European Commission’s Disaster Risk Management Knowledge Centre and the Directorate General for Research and Innovation have developed a platform, Gaps Explorer, that collects pre-analysed information on recent and ongoing Disaster Risk Management (DRM) projects and provides recommendations for actions to three groups: practitioners, policy makers and scientists.

The first pilot was developed on Forest Fires. This is a major hazard throughout Europe, producing large environmental and economic losses and having an impact on human lives. Effective forest fire management and decision-making requires science-based information. The analysis of the knowledge, methodologies and technologies produced in the last two decades opens up new perspectives for enhanced forest fire risk management in the face of climate change, social and cultural trends and growth dynamics.

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A SINCERE interest in forest ecosystem services

“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)
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EFI as chartered member of PyroLife

Deadly wildfires in the past two years and the heatwave we are facing throughout in Europe this year are a glimpse of what to expect in the future. Therefore, the European Union has granted 4 million Euro for PyroLife, a project in which framework a new generation of experts will be trained in integrated fire management. We are happy to announce that we will take part in the newly established project.

PyroLife is the first integrated doctoral training programme on wildfires globally and will train 15 PhD candidates across Europe, coordinated by Wageningen University & Research.

Within this project, the European Forest Institute will supervise one PhD student and further offers various fire related trainings through the SURE project.

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