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Category: Forest conservation

Insights on “Engaging with Media” Workshop

What makes forest-related topics newsworthy? How can we humanize our stories and constantly create better engagement with readers, without repeating the same story over and over?

Media plays a vital role informing about forest-related issues, especially when linked to the role forests play in climate change. However, these topics are often very complex and thus difficult to explain in detail to a general public so that they have a clear understanding of how for instance, climate change is affecting the state of forests. Furthermore, media is often attracted by specific narratives, for example the potential of forests to mitigate climate change and attempts to “sell” forests as the ultimate solution – which is too short-sighted. Thus, we need to find ways to tell stories entailing important and correct information in a way that people can relate to and empathize with. But how can we achieve that?

Discussions around these topics are tackled in our communications training series, an initiative from the European Integrate Network secretariat. In our second workshop “Engaging with Media,” taking place on 24th June 2021 as a virtual event, we learned about the many challenges faced but also solutions that scientists, journalists, politicians, and practitioners can offer when communicating about forests.

 

News values and humanized solutions

Even though journalists struggle making it into the headlines when writing forest-related stories that truly captivate readers, it is evident that the topic of climate change in general is increasingly covered in mainstream media. As one of our speakers, POLITICO correspondent Kalina Oroschakoff expressed, forestry-related issues have become a prominent political topic because there is a realization that people care about these topics. Therefore, forests also recently found their way into POLITICO’s reporting.

Throughout the workshop, we discussed ways to find narratives based on scientific and/or practical evidence while entertaining readers with captivating stories. Our speaker Hanno Charisius, from Süddeutsche Zeitung, discussed how he sometimes uses controversy and conflicting topics, to tell stories about forests – because controversy is likely to be picked up by readers. How many deer do you have to kill to keep forests healthy? Should we use wood to heat our apartments? He elaborated on many examples of how people can individually relate to forests. When looking at these topics from different perspectives, we can avoid a monotony in reporting about forest-related topics.

Another key factor discussed throughout the workshop is the lack of a common ground language. While scientists fear their messages will be misunderstood, environmental journalists can often feel intimidated by their lack of understanding of natural sciences. Our guest speaker, Josh Howgego from NewScientist, discussed his non-linear process of creating features, with back-and-forth communication with scientists, writers, and editors. This avoids not only misunderstandings, but also biases based on subjective world views.

Lastly, discussions focused on how media can build a bridge between science and policy-making to avoid that uninformed decisions make it into legal text without scientific support. This leads to constant frustration from all parties, but the solution lies within the basic question of the workshop: how do we communicate better with media to convey relevant forest-related information?

  1. Effectively, answers to this question were put into practice in our practical exercise in the final part of the workshop, where participants were encouraged to sharpen their main message. The participants were separated in two breakout groups: one facilitated by Judit Alonso (freelance journalist, e.g. working for Deutsche Welle) and Borut Tavcar from Delo (Slovenia), the other one facilitated by Bob Berwyn (freelance for Inside Climate News and Deutsche Welle) and Hanno Charisius — Autorenseite — Süddeutsche Zeitung (sueddeutsche.de).
  2. Among other tips, our guest speakers suggested to create narratives from people’s perspective and in a positive manner, avoid using too many numbers and jargon, be up to date with recent studies, find your own perspective, and humanize solutions!
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Mit Sechstklässlern ab in den Wald

Bäume ausmessen, ihr Alter bestimmen, Frosche und Blätter sammeln… Wie kann man Schüler*innen den Wald näher bringen? Alexander Held und Andreas Schuck haben mit einer sechsten Klasse einen Ausflug in das Mooswald Marteloskop in der Nähe von Freiburg gemacht. Hier kann man den unterhaltsamen Bericht einer Schülerin lesen.

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Combining silviculture and ecology to benefit our forests – the Irish way

Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe that experienced almost complete deforestation in recent history with just over 1% forest cover remaining at the beginning of the 1900s. Since then, an impressive effort has been made by the State of Ireland and other stakeholders to increase forest cover – but the Irish plan to plant forests has also faced a lot of criticism. I have spoken with three experts on Irish forests: Jonathan Spazzi, Forestry Development Officer working for Teagasc, Aileen O’Sullivan, Environmental Technical Lead for Coillte Forest, as well as Padraig O Tuama, private forestry consultant specialising in clients interested in Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) and former task leader for researching and promoting Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF) in Coillte Teo.

They have all joined forces to promoting the Continuous Cover Forest management (CCF) approach, to increase species diversity and forest conservation in Irish forests while as well enhancing timber value. As a proper tool to support their efforts both Teagasc and Coillte, in collaboration with ProSilva Ireland, have decided to establish several marteloscope sites in different forest types. Check out this interview to learn what has happened so far in Irish forestry, how the three would like to shape the future of their forests, and what they expect from working with marteloscopes.

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Die Arbeitsgemeinschaft Naturgemäße Waldwirtschaft (ANW) lädt ein zur Bundestagung 2021

Ein Beitrag von Uwe Schölmerich

Unter dem Motto „Dauerwald-unser Waldweg im Klimawandel“ lädt die ANW Deutschland zur diesjährigen Bundestagung in Bergheim (NRW) ein.

Prominente Festredner und ein vielseitiges Exkursionsprogramm erwartet die Teilnehmenden zwischen dem 9-11 September 2021. Eine Anmeldung ist noch bis zum 31. Juli möglich.

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Old-growth forests, new policy implications

EFI report contributes to debate on how to achieve old-growth forest protection targets in the EU

If you ask stakeholders all over Europe “How should we address the remaining old-growth forests?”, you can expect eyebrows to be raised. Most of us agree that despite covering only a small fraction of Europe’s land area, old-growth and other primary forests play an important role in biodiversity conservation and in the provision of other ecosystem services. But other aspects of the topic are constantly debated. Discussions of old-growth forests also have new policy implications, as the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 sets the target to strictly protect all remaining EU primary and old-growth forests. This is part of a wider objective to strictly protect 10% of EU land area.

However, the path to protection is not so straight forward. It starts with questions continuing to circle at policy level and in academia on how old-growth forest should be defined. Similarly, we face unresolved issues on how to implement the targets of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. Aiming at informing discussions related to these questions, European Forest Institute (EFI) recently released a study titled ‘Protecting old-growth forests in Europe – a review of scientific evidence to inform policy implementation’.

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Einmal FörsterIn spielen- EFI als Aussteller bei Woche der Umwelt

Artenvielfalt ist das diesjährige Thema der Woche der Umwelt, die auf Einladung des Bundespräsidenten Frank-Walter Steinmeier und der Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU) stattfindet. Unter dem Motto „So geht Zukunft!“ erwarten die Teilnehmenden am 10. und 11. Juni 2021 spannende Diskussionen und ein attraktives Programm zu wichtigen Zukunftsfragen. Ausstellende aus Wirtschaft und Technik, Forschung und Wissenschaft und aus der Zivilgesellschaft präsentieren online ihre innovativen Lösungen für die Zukunft.

Aus über 600 Bewerbungen wählte eine durch das Bundespräsidialamt berufene Fachjury die besten Projekte aus und wir freuen uns, dass das Europäische Forstinstitut (EFI) als Aussteller dabei ist. Das EFI Bonn stellt das Konzept der Marteloskope, ein innovatives Trainingstool zur Visualisierung waldbaulicher Entscheidungen. Marteleloskope sind ca. 1 Hektar große Flächen, in denen alle Bäume nummeriert, kartiert und vermessen sind.   Übungen in den Martelskop-Flächen erlauben es, in die Rolle von Forstleuten zu schlüpfen und dank einer eigens dafür entwickelten Software, die auf Tablets bereitgestellt wird, virtuell forstliche Entscheidungen zu treffen. Hier ein kurzes Video zu den Marteloskopen (Link youtube).

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Forests as critical infrastructure? Integrated Forest Management and recreation for forests and people – Virtual Excursion during the Urban Forestry Days 23-24 March

How to bring more than 600 policy planners, decision-makers, practitioners, researchers and urban forestry enthusiasts into the forest in times of social distancing? The first day of the Urban Forestry Days (23 – 24 March 2021) held a special highlight for the participants, who joined from over 68 countries all around the globe. The two-day collaborative event of integrated Urban Forestry activities was hosted by the European Forest Institute (EFI), the European Forum on Urban Forestry (EFUF) and the Horizon 2020 CLEARING HOUSE project.

“Public involvement and engagement bring valuable information to decision-making processes”,

Renate Späth

After a day packed with the latest urban forestry developments, insights on integrated forest management and lively discussions about the role of urban forests for co-creating more sustainable cities, a virtual excursion brought the participants right into Kottenforst. Located in the southwest of Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia, the 4.000 hectares peri-urban forest area serves as a stage to enjoy nature, recreate, meet people and engage in discussions. A group of urban forestry experts accompanied the visual experience. While live-commenting the virtual excursion, they shed light on environmental education, microhabitats, marteloscopes and the importance of enabling and enhancing dialogue about forests and forest policy. As part of a Q&A session, facilitator Maria Schloßmacher (EFI) encouraged participants to share their thoughts and ask questions directly to the experts.

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Brazil offers many lessons to all those interested in making forest governance more effective – interview with Thais Linhares-Juvenal

This interview is part of the ‘Forest Governance Unpacked’ series with key experts in forest governance. It was developed in the context of the NewGo! project which aims to provide scientific knowledge on lessons learned from initiatives related to zero deforestation, forest restoration, and sustainable forest finance. The project sets the ground for the EFI Governance Programme.

Tell us a bit about who you are.

Thais Linhares-Juvenal in the FAO headquarters, Rome.

I am an economist with a diversified background in governance, from corporate and market governance to public matters, working exclusively on forest matters for the last 16 years. I built a great part of my experience in Brazil, where I had the privilege to work with federal, provincial and municipal governments, and the private sector to set up institutional arrangements in response to the 1988 Constitution mandate for decentralization, participation and accountability. I engaged with the climate change agenda early on, and have worked on increasing participation of native and planted forests in climate change mitigation since 1996. When REDD+ was formally accepted as a potential mitigation measure by the UNFCCC in the 2000s, I redirected my career towards forest development in the context of climate change. Since then, I worked both nationally and internationally, mostly with developing countries on governance, climate, and finance issues. This experience has been valuable to my current work at FAO, where I focus on governance to halt deforestation and forest degradation, as well as forests in the sustainable bioeconomy. As part of this work, we give special attention to building capacities for evidence-based policy-making and improved cross-sectoral coordination to respond to environmental and socioeconomic issues.

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