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?

Wildfeuer auf kontaminierten Flächen

Hier ein Update zu einem erneuten Brand auf ehemaligem Militärgelände (Quelle: Spiegel online) und meine Kommentare dazu.

In Deutschland, vor allem im Osten, gibt es tausende Hektar aktive oder ehemalige Truppenübungsplätze. Naturschutzfachlich sind diese Flächen auf Grund der ehemaligen militärischen Störung äußerst wertvoll und zumeist auch NATURA 2000- Flächen. Leider sind die militärischen Hinterlassenschaften (UXO Unexploded Ordnace) nicht so wertvoll, sondern gefährden Umwelt, Boden, Grundwasser und im Falle von Wildfeuern auch die Einsatzkräfte.

Zwei Fragen stellen sich: Wie können wir den Offenland-Charackter dieser Natura 2000 Flächen erhalten und gleichzeitig die Sicherheit der Einsatzkräfte im Brandfall erhöhen?

It’s not too late to ensure your spot in Sardinia!

There is still time to submit an abstract to present at this year’s two satellite events during the European Forest Institute annual conference taking place in September on the second biggest island of Italy – Sardinia.

Both events touch upon the aspect of biodiversity at the level of genes. In fact, a rich genetic diversity of forest trees is like a resilience insurance: in the face of a climate change and pests and diseases, some trees will have genes that are resistant to these disturbances, thusenabling the forest to recover after some time.

However, the two scientific seminars go beyond resilience and genetic diversity.

How to implement risk management in future forestry? A conference trip to Solsona, Spain

On 6th of June 2018, EFI Bonn’s principal scientist Marcus Lindner and I, Junior researcher Laura Nikinmaa escaped tropical Germany to cool down in the Mediterranean Solsona, Spain, and to participate in the conference “COMMUNICATING RISKS IN Decision Support Systems: from basic research to advanced decision support tools” with 30 other researchers. Hosted by the Forest Science Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), the conference was organized by the SuFoRun project and IUFRO’s Risk Analysis working group 4.04.07. The program provided plenty diverse presentations ranging from using real option analysis to deal with uncertainties to effects of bark stripping on wind resistance of Norway spruce.

Forest Policy means Resilience – Wageningen Meeting

What do we mean when we talk about forest policy and governance? We also mean resilience. The Second International Forest Policy Meeting has presented it quite clearly.

More than hundred participants from 20 countries attended the Second International Forest Policy Meeting which took place in Wageningen between 11th and 13th of April. During the event, participants discussed four main themes: 1. Forest governance, 2. International policy&politics, 3. Community&society, and 4. Conflict&control. They could undeniably experience that forest policy is way more than the actions of powerful actors operated within an institutional structure and enhanced by bureaucracy.

Reducing wildfires in the countryside: Workshop in Ireland

Workshop meeting to collect input for the Northern Irish Vegetation Fire Strategy

45 participants from across Ireland, all of them highly interested in vegetation fire, held a workshop meeting on 20-21 March 2018 in Belfast. The event was also attended by a number of international fire experts and specialists from the UK, Spain, Germany and the US: Chuck Bushey, former president of IAWF; Michael Bruce, Vice Chair of Scottish Wildfire Forum; Rob Gazzard, UK Forestry Commission Fire Adviser; Craig Hope, Lead Wildfire Officer South Wales Fire Service; Simon Thorp, UK Heather Trust; Jordi Vendrell, fire weather and behavior analyst of the Pau Costa Foundation; Alexander Held, European Forest Risk Facility (hosted by European Forest Institute’s Bonn office).