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Category: Forest Education

Same trees, different perspectives: using a marteloscope to present forests in a new light

What do you see when you look at a forest? The first, obvious answer could be “trees”, but the more nuanced reality is that forests have different meanings and values to different people. Trees provide important habitats to animals, such as cavities for bats to sleep in and branches for birds to build their nests on – an aspect often emphasised by ecologists and nature conservation managers. At the same time, trees offer valuable resources for producing furniture, paper, construction materials and other objects made of wood – a perspective often adopted by forest owners and foresters.

Where these perspectives clash, societal conflicts may arise – a topic that was examined in real life by students of the Liebfrauenschule in Bonn, Germany, involved in the EU-funded project MULTIPLIERS, coordinated by the University of Bonn. From 19-22 February, a group of 55 eighth graders visited a so-called “marteloscope” in Bonn’s Kottenforst nature reserve.

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Forests do not end at national borders – how can united knowledge help Europe’s forests?

This is a report made by three representatives from the International Forestry Students’ Association during their voluntary work for the HLPD 2023 organization.

On November 9, government representatives and practitioners from all over Europe came together in Berlin for the second FOREST EUROPE High-Level Talks to address one question: How can sustainable forest management help make Europe’s forests more resilient to the consequences of climate change?

For those who don’t know, FOREST EUROPE is a pan-European forest policy process at the ministerial level in which guidelines, criteria, and indicators of sustainable forest management are developed. And we had the opportunity to be the youth representatives.

What have we seen? What are the bullet points we, the Youth, take from this day full of panel discussions? This is our perspective on the topic of „growing healthier forests“ and the efforts the government representatives make in their countries.

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How forest owners can guarantee an income in times of uncertainty 

What I learned about the challenges for German forests and their owners, about future-oriented management and collaboration between forest science and practice when exploring the Hatzfeldt-Wildenburg county with my EFI Bonn team 

It is only a few months since I joined EFI, but of course, I have known the institution for a long time. And I must confess that I have always loved its catchy slogan: “Connecting Knowledge to action”. Thus, since I started working here, I have been looking forward to meeting and congratulating whoever would have created such an inspiring sentence. But recently I have found out that this slogan just simple and merely defines what we do at EFI, and I am going to tell you why.   

On Tuesday 22nd. August, we had our annual “Day out”, where EFI Bonn goes to the forest and discusses practical forest-related issues. We visited a forest located only one hour and a half Northeast of the city of Bonn, in the Northeastern part of Rhineland-Palatinate. It was not my first time visiting a German forest, but it was my first time seeing a German forest through the eyes of local practitioners.

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Einen Tag Förster*in sein im Bonner Kottenforst

Wer interessiert am Klima- und Umweltschutz ist und mehr über die Rolle des Waldes im Klimawandel erfahren möchte, sollte an einer unserer drei „Marteloskop“-Übungen im Bonner Kottenforst teilnehmen.

Diese “Marteloskop“-Übungen (kurzes Info-Video zu Marteloskopen hier) bieten die einmalige Gelegenheit, selbst in die Welt der Förster*innen einzutauchen und Waldmanagement im Klimawandel zu erleben – und zu diskutieren, wie man den Wald sowohl nachhaltig nutzen als auch schützen kann.

Im Rahmen des Forschungsprojekts „Martelkom“ lädt European Forest Institute in das Marteloskop im Bonner Kottenforst zum Austausch mit Förster:innen direkt vor Ort ein. Dafür haben wir drei Termine für unterschiedliche Zielgruppen gefunden:

Am 16. September üben wir mit Wald- und Klimaschutzinteressierte Bürger*innen von 10-14:30Uhr.

Am 23. September laden wir junge Klimaaktivist*innen um 10-14:30Uhr ein.

Am 6. Oktober möchten wir die Übung gemeinsam mit zukünftigen Lehrer*innen ebenfalls um 10-14:30Uhr durchführen.

Wo? Jägerhäuschen im Kottenforst, bei Röttgen (53125 Bonn)

Wir sind gespannt auf Ihre/Eure Perspektive! Da Plätze begrenzt sind bitte unbedingt anmelden unter hannah.ertelt(at)efi.int

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Training argumentation and critical thinking skills in a role-play about forests

How can students develop skills such as argumentation and critical thinking? The Umeå University is investigating the topic using learning materials around forest use and forest protection as part of the MULTIPLIERS project

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Connecting nature conservation and forest management

Why the best exchange of knowledge&experiences about forests usually happens in the forest

Have you ever heard of the ADAPT Project, a project implemented by IUCN to increase ecosystem and community resilience to climate change and disaster risks by applying Nature-based solutions in the Western Balkans? I in fact haven’t, until recently I met some of the project partners when the Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECARO) of IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) organized in collaboration with diverse partners and country representatives from the Balkan region a four-day study tour to Bonn. The tour had the goal to exchange experiences and knowledge of nature-based solutions that may find application to the Western Balkan region.    

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Re-spiritualizing forests… What in heaven does this mean?!

“In the forests are things you could lie in the moss for years pondering about.” (Franz Kafka) 

With this quotation from a famous local poet, we started our SINCERE project workshop in 2019 in the city of Prague. Experts and enthusiasts of spiritual and cultural values of forests from across Europe and Asia came together for three days to discuss how the “spiritual values of forests” have been relevant in the past as well as the present.  

The result is an exploratory study, based on knowledge from 18 inter-disciplinary experts including natural and social scientists, recently published in Ecology & Society. Funeral forests, forest therapy, and forest bathing: these are all “new” trends, especially in Europe. What is the spiritual fuss over forests about? That’s what we wanted to find out! 

But this spiritual interest in forests is not new at all. Humans have had a close relationship with forests and have been intrigued by their magical nature since forever. Societies depended on forests also for their spiritual development, e.g., sacred natural sites (sacred groves), of which some still exist today. We also know that forests and trees are often central in myths and folklore – thinking about the Brothers Grimm fairytales, but also myths including the mystical and magical power of certain tree species such as the oak…. (and again, even in art and films today such as Lord of the Ring’s Treebeard character and Avatar). 

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Welche Wälder wollen wir? Neues Martelkom-Projekt nutzt Marteloskope zur Erforschung von Waldwahrnehmung

Wenn Sie einen Waldspaziergang machen, um sich zu erholen – in welchen Wald gehen Sie dann? Wie sieht dieser Wald aus? Fühlen Sie sich wohl unter Nadelbäumen, mögen Sie lieber Eichen und Buchen oder vielleicht einen Mix aus beiden? Wie stellen Sie sich einen attraktiven Wald vor, und was wäre das Gegenteil davon? Die Antworten auf diese Fragen sind vermutlich von vielen verschiedenen Faktoren abhängig: von Ihrem Alter, Ihrem Beruf, und wo Sie leben, aber auch von Ihren Einstellungen und Werten zum Wald. Vielleicht erkennen Sie einzelne Baumarten oder Pflanzen, wenn Sie im Wald pausieren, oder beobachten sogar Vögel und andere Waldtiere? Und hatten Sie jemals Berührungspunkte mit der Forstwirtschaft – oder fragen Sie sich, warum Wälder überhaupt bewirtschaftet werden? 

Mit dem neuen Forschungsprojekt Martelkom (Marteloskope als Forschungs- und Kommunikationsinstrument für integrative Waldwirtschaft) wollen wir vom European Forest Institute (EFI) und der Forstlichen Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg (FVA) genau diese Fragen erforschen: Wie werden der Wald und die Forstwirtschaft von verschiedenen gesellschaftlichen Gruppen wahrgenommen und welche Art von Wald bevorzugen diese Gruppen? Unser Ziel ist es auch in Zusammenarbeit mit regionalen Forstverbänden in Arnsberg, Bonn und Freiburg zu untersuchen, welche Vorkenntnisse, Werte und Einstellungen mit verschiedenen Eigenschaften von Wald verbunden sind, und ob und in welchem Umfang sich diese ändern, wenn Laien sich mit Waldbewirtschaftung auseinandersetzen. 

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Predicting the future of our tree species

Did you know that due to the rapid development of climate change some species are unable to adapt fast enough to the new climatic conditions and might reduce their distribution or even face possible extinction?

In such cases, species distribution models (SDM) come handy since they can be used to identify areas with a potential biodiversity loss and assist species migration to more suitable areas. SDM uses advanced computer algorithms, georeferenced biodiversity observations and geographic layers of environmental information to build predictive models that can be used to make inferences about the potential distribution range of species in space and time.

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The invisible workforce: seasonal migration in the forest sector 

They help farmers to pick asparagus and support foresters with salvage-cutting bark-beetle damaged trees: The EU – and especially countries like Spain, Poland and Germany – is heavily dependent on so called “seasonal migrants”, either from other EU Member States or third world countries. Bringing the issue closer to home, Germany receives around 300,000 workers per year for agricultural, horticultural and forestry work, many of them from Central and Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Romania. Very often, they remain invisible. We asked ourselves, how many of these workers can we specifically find in the forest sector? What roles do they play and how can these be distinguished from the agricultural sector? How are the working conditions? And what can we do to make this issue more visible?  

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