Happy International Day of Forests!

Written by José Bolaños and Maria Schlossmacher

This year the International Day of Forests (IDF) will address the exciting theme “Forests and Education”. It is an occasion to raise awareness, to inform and to educate a broad public, different stakeholders and forest-managers about forest-related topics.

Forests cover one third of land on Earth, and they perform crucial and vital functions around the world. Trees improve our lives both at a grand scale and at the local level. Despite those benefits, deforestation and consequences of climate change are among other great challenges for forests.

National Forest Inventories as a multipurpose tool for urban forests

Written by Itziar Aguinaga Gil

Urban environmental challenges require on-site environmental solutions. As such, green infrastructure is widely proposed as a feasible measure towards the resilience and sustainable development of urban areas.

Urban forests represent the back-bone of urban green infrastructure by connecting the rural and city interface, and they provide both environmental and social benefits given that an adequate implementation and management is in place. However, all efforts may fail if there are not consistent and universal tools to quantify and characterize the necessary factors involved in the practice, policy and decision-making process. That is why we should consider the potentials of integrating urban forests within the National Forest Inventory.

Deer in Denmark

New Fences in Ireland?

No, not the border fence between Ireland and Northern Ireland, no.

In this blog, we are discussing tree species composition, forest adaptation and conversion towards more resilient forests! Deer management in silviculture is one of the crucial factors to consider, just like enough light for the seedlings and site conditions. And here are the fencing news from Ireland, I quote from the Irish newspaper “Independant”.

“New deer fencing grant among measures to support biodiversity of Irish forests: Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle today announced the opening of three new support measures to support biodiversity of Irish forests. A new scheme to support  ‘Continuous Cover Forestry’, (CCF), which allows for the production of commercial timber while retaining forest cover at all times. Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) is an alternative forest management approach where the forest canopy is maintained at one or more levels without clearfelling. The distinctive element of CCF is the avoidance of clearfelling areas greater than 0.25 ha or more than two tree heights wide without the retention of some mature trees. These systems are generally associated with natural regeneration but natural regeneration can be supplemented by planting if required.  

Report from the Forum On Catalan Wildfire Research

The Pau Costa Foundation (PCF) and its partners and network form the Wildfire Thematic node within our joint European Forest Risk Facility initiative. PCF called for a Forum meeting on Catalan Wildfire Research on November 6th 2018 in Barcelona. Since Catalonia´s wildfire community is always good for inspiration and pioneering approaches, we would like to share the results here with you.

During one intense and enriching day, the Forum gathered around 80 participants and 45 speakers, presenting and discussing about the ongoing research and management challenges in Catalonia and beyond. Practitioners and scientist from Catalonia exchanged actual scientific results and current needs. 

The motivation of the Forum raises from a well-known gap in the collaboration framework between researchers and forest/fire managers. In fact, these two groups are closer than they have ever been in the last 20 years, yet there is not enough collaboration to have one single voice on wildfire challenges, needs and solutions to reach out efficiently to politicians and society. This is not only a regional or national challenge, but a global one that requires immediate attention by the communities. Events like the Forum on Catalan Wildfire research should be replicated in other regions with the same purpose. 

From this meeting we have accomplished the eight key points that were drawn from the discussions. We have published them in our PCF blog. Furthermore, all presentationsvideos and information about the participant research groups of the Forum are available in the Lessons on Fire.

If you have not yet registered, take this opportunity to engage and discover the wildfire community, where you will be able to share, discuss and get to know people from all around the world here here.

Veranstaltung “Waldbau und Waldbewirtschaftung im Klimawandel”

Neue Instrumente für den Waldbesitz in Nordrhein-Westfalen

Angesichts der Veränderungen, die sich aus Klimawandel, Digitalisierung und neuen gesellschaftlichen Ansprüchen ergeben, benötigt die Waldbewirtschaftung effektive IT-unterstützte Management-Instrumente. Im Rahmen der Veranstaltung “Waldbau und Waldbewirtschaftung im Klimawandel” stellt das Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen (MULNV) am Freitag, den 7. Dezember 2018 in Düsseldorf neue Hilfestellungen des Landes vor, mit denen der Waldbesitz auf die Herausforderungen reagieren kann: das Waldbaukonzept NRW, die landesweite forstliche Standortkarte und das neue Internetportal Waldinfo.NRW.

Irish Marteloscopes: exploring new cooperation opportunities

by Ted Wilson

The Annual Pro Silva Ireland forestry tour 2018 was heading towards Obernai, France where the French National Forest Office’s (ONF) silviculture trainer Marc-Etienne Wilhelm hosted the “Irish forestry invasion” for 3 days. A total of 27 members of Pro Silva Ireland participated in the tour, indicating the strength of interest in continuous cover forestry (CCF) among Irish foresters, forest ecologists and woodland owners at the present time.

As a participant in the tour, I (Ted Wilson) took the opportunity to extend my travels and visit the Martelscope training sites at Mooswald and Rosskopf, near Freiburg, Black Forest, Germany. My work is based at the Teagasc Forestry Development Department, Ashtown Research Centre, and at the School of Agriculture and Food Science (Forestry Section), University College Dublin, both in Dublin, Ireland. My current research focuses on CCF, and my main project is called TranSSFor. This deals with the transformation of Sitka spruce plantations to continuous cover forestry. Related to silvicultural and production objectives of the research project is the issue of training, which was the focus of a highly productive meeting with Alex Held and Andreas Schuck, who are with the European Forest Institute.

Future global forest governance: Learning across generations

This summer, office temperatures soared, the fan was blowing full throttle and my afternoon ice cream melted faster than I could eat it. I was not the only one under severe heat stress though. As I looked from my office window, I could see that the consistently high temperatures had affected trees and vegetation. Leaves had changed color and treetops looked thinner. The dry and hot weather in Germany and beyond since May also made forest fires inevitable. This year all of Europe suffered from peat and forest fires that started earlier and burned for longer than normal.

These are worrisome observations for me as individual and as junior scientist. Given the scale of deforestation and forest degradation globally, which is one underlying cause of rising emissions and a changing global climate, I feel uncertain about what and how my contribution could look like in addressing an issue of the scale of deforestation and forest degradation.

I feel the urgency to act when I observe consequences of 1°C of global warming, but also because in the future, we will be more people on our planet. More people who require food, jobs and strive for higher living conditions. This will add even more pressure on forest ecosystems and possibly cause further degradation. To interrupt this vicious circle and to make forests more resilient to these threats globally, I think we need to have a rules-based framework at the global level that addresses these challenges effectively. Something that gives guidance and regulates any illegal, destructive and harmful activities that affect forests – and ultimately us.

Ways to mainstream Biodiversity and Forest Education – COFO 24

FAO Headquarters held the 24TH Committee on Forestry and the 6th World Forest Week.

After I had my Italian breakfast, with a cappuccino and a croissant, I walked into the FAO atrium and the ambiance was welcoming the international guests into a colorful and ”forested” scenario.

The conference presented a rich programme including the COFO 24th ’s plenary sessions, and the 6th World Forest Week , characterized by high-level dialogues and open-discussions in the side events.

Invitation: Forest Transformation and Conversion

EXEMPLARY FOREST UNITS OF UNEVEN-AGED FORESTRY
IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC

 25 years of pure even-aged Norway spruce stands transformation and Pro Silva principles application within Forest District Kocanda

PLACE: hotel Medlov, Fryšava pod Žákovou horou, Czech Republic
DATE: 25th and 26th October 2018

Even-aged and mono-culture. This is translating into high risk and vulnerability of forest stands and the call of forest research is to transform and convert single-species, even-aged forest stands to more resilient structures. Such stable and more resilient forest structures are promoted for instance by Pro Silva since 1989: The Close-to-Nature Forestry Pro Silva Principles as well as the Guidebook to Continuous Cover Forestry  (now available in French, English and German) describe a forest management approach to more resilient and more bio-diverse forests.

However, across Europe, we are still facing extensive areas where past forest management practices and historical reasons have established those high-risk, even-aged, mono-culture forests.

The Czech republic is just one of many countries with this forestry legacy. Pro Silva Bohemica PSB , in cooperation with the European Forest Risk Facility is happy to invite interested international participants to join a two day event where 25 years of forest transformation can be observed and shared. A truly important experience to share in our journey to more resilient and close-to-nature forestry!

We are looking forward to a pan-European event, discussions and experience exchange!

forest fire in Sweden

“HELP! Our forests are burning!” – “But what kind of help do you need?”

The heatwave across central and northern Europe is preparing the ground for a severe wildfire season. Normally mostly green vegetation is turning into “fuel” in countries normally not affected by serious fire problems. Hereby I am referring to countries not prepared for a wildfire season (compared to the Mediterranean areas, who are dealing with frequent forest fires), despite the climate change scenarios and increasing risks and disturbance predictions.

We have reported here on this blog about the fire situation and early warning systems in the UK, Ireland, and Germany already. Now Scandinavia is receiving a lot of media attention. Sweden for instance is calling for international assistance:

Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help. Sweden worst hit as hot, dry summer sparks unusual number of fires, with at least 11 in the far north” (source: The Guardian) or

“Swedish firefighters were still battling 49 different wildfires across the country on Thursday afternoon, and in some areas residents have been asked to leave for their own safety. Here’s where evacuations take place.” (source: The Local)

As we can see from this and most other media articles, reports focus on the weather, the heat and fires and smoke and on helicopters as well as water-bombing aircraft. And that is what you need in a out-of-control fire situation: Hit the fire fast and hard. And for that you need resources like planes, absolutely. However, what I do miss in most news articles is that the crisis management cycle has more phases than just the response. Is that single-focused reporting maybe a reason for political ignorance of urgent needs for prevention and mitigation?