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Category: Forest conservation

Die Neue Europäische Waldstrategie – Bevormundung oder eine Vision für alle?

Nachhaltige Waldbewirtschaftung durch Flächenprämien fördern, die Holzernte nur noch innerhalb von Nachhaltigkeitsgrenzen durchführen und finanzielle Unterstützung für besondere Umweltleistungen garantieren – dies sind nur einige Punkte der neuen europäischen Waldstrategie für 2030, die schon in ihrem Entstehungsprozess in Deutschland und auch in vielen anderen europäischen Ländern kontrovers diskutiert wurde. Die Waldstrategie für 2030 wurde vor Kurzem von der EU-Kommission als eine der Leitinitiativen des europäischen „Green Deal“ auf den Weg gebracht. Sie hat das Ziel, die vielfältigen Funktionen der Wälder miteinzubeziehen, auch in Referenz zur EU-Biodiversitätsstrategie für 2030.

Während Umweltschützer*innen den zu großen Einfluss der Holzwirtschaft und der nationalen Regierungen bemängeln, der in den Augen eines manchen ein „weich gespültes Papier“ zum Resultat hat, entgegnen andere, die Strategie ginge zu weit: Besonders Förster*innen und Waldbesitzer*innen sehen sich teilweise in der Bewirtschaftung ihrer Wälder bevormundet und fürchten Enteignung und/oder zukünftige Abhängigkeit von EU-Subventionen.

Diese und zahlreiche weitere Perspektiven wurden am 23. September in einem Webinar zur europäischen Waldstrategie beleuchtet und diskutiert, das vom deutschen Ministerium für Umwelt, Landwirtschaft, Natur- und Verbraucherschutz des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft sowie der Vertretung des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen bei der Europäischen Union organisiert wurde.

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From research to action: the future of Old-growth Forests in Europe

Despite making up a small fraction of forest area in Europe, primary and old-growth forests generate heated debates given their importance for biodiversity conservation and provision of many ecosystem services. However, due to the complexity surrounding these forests, discussions sometimes seem to circle indefinitely. Inputs from the latest scientific research are therefore exceptionally valuable, especially when it comes to guiding policy implementation on their protection.

On September 21st, 2021, a webinar on two recently published studies on primary and old-growth forests held by the Commission Working Group on Forests and Nature (sub-working group of the Co-coordination Group for Biodiversity and Nature) provided such an opportunity. EFI presented its recent study, Protecting old-growth forests in Europe – a review of scientific evidence to inform policy implementation. Following, José Barredo gave insight to the Joint Research Centre’s (JRC) report on Mapping and assessment of primary and old-growth forests in Europe. The Working Group, which aims to progress the process to define, map, monitor, and strictly protect EU’s primary and old-growth forests, hosted the webinar with the goal of raising awareness of the two studies among the group’s members, as well as to discuss how the scientific findings could inform their ongoing process.

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Marteloskope – Selbstüberprüfung des forstlichen Götterblickes

Hans von der Goltz, Jakob Derks

Am 29.-30. Juni diesen Jahres fand die jährliche Vorstandssitzung der ANW (Arbeitsgemeinschaft Naturgemäße Waldwirtschaft) unter dem Vorsitz von Hans von der Goltz und organisiert von Johannes Odrost statt. Zu diesem Anlass trafen sich die hochrangigen Forstexpert*innen in Massow, einem Forstrevier, das der Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg’schen Verwaltung gehört und von ihr verwaltet wird. Der Wald erstreckt sich über rund 7000 Hektar und wird überwiegend von der Waldkiefer dominiert. Die jahrzehntelange nachlässige Bewirtschaftung hatte zu dichten, überalterten Kiefernmonokulturen mit wenig Unterwuchs und Artenvielfalt geführt. Auf den kargen Sandböden Brandenburgs macht das die Bestände anfällig für Trockenheit und Brände. Mit dem Erwerb des Waldes durch die Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg’sche Verwaltung vor etwa zwanzig Jahren wurde eine neue Bewirtschaftungsweise eingeführt. Das Hauptziel besteht darin, die Widerstandsfähigkeit des Waldes zu erhöhen, indem die strukturelle Vielfalt maximiert, die natürliche Verjüngung gefördert und die Beimischung verschiedener Arten, gegebenenfalls durch Anpflanzung, begünstigt wird. Nach Jahren konsequenter selektiver Durchforstung, verbunden mit einer intensiven Bejagung und der gezielten Einbringung verschiedener Baumarten, hat sich der Wald verändert. Er ist deutlich üppiger, grüner und strukturreicher als die meisten benachbarten Bestände.

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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.

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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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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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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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Register now: Integrate Communication Workshop on “Building a Narrative” on 21st May 2021

How should we best manage our forests? This is the guiding question behind the virtual communication workshop series the secretariat of the European Integrate Network is initiating. Being aware that there is no single answer to this question, in our first training on “Building a Narrative”, we would like to engage with you to develop narratives for your proposed solutions and effectively communicate with those who might have different perspectives. The workshop will provide the opportunities for exchanging perspectives and listen to the stories others tell to define the best communications approaches to respond to the guiding question.

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