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Category: Forest Governance

The challenge of managing forests for multiple ecosystem services in a changing world

On 26-28 February 2020, about 200 scientists – forest ecologists, economists, policy analysts and conservationists – as well as interested stakeholders, students and practitioners from Europe and beyond gathered together at the Ceasar Research Centre in Bonn, Germany, to discuss scientific evidence relating to the current state of ‘integrated’ forest management approaches across the globe. Here’s my attempt of a short reportage of three very dense – but extremely interesting – days in the European Forest City 2020. 

Whether you are a regular reader of the Resilience blog or you ended up here by clicking a link in social media, one thing is clear: you are interested in forests. And you are interested to know how forests can be managed in an optimal way, so they provide not only wood but many ecosystem services (for example clean water, recreation, habitat, protection) to our busy society. Well, unfortunately there is not a universal recipe for this. Ecological conditions of forests as well as their governance, policies, and human societies surrounding them are very different across the globe. On top of that, our world is changing with a pace that is faster than the ability of forests to adapt to novel conditions. This demands us to bring together ideas for ‘integrated’ forest management solutions to face major global challenges. This was the reason why the European Forest Institute (EFI) in collaboration with several other research institutions and projects  organised the conference Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services across the globe”.

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Integration of forests, policy and mindsets

Written by Lison Ambroise & Sara Helsen

As part of the IFSA (International Forestry Students’ Organisation) delegation, we had the opportunity to take part in the conference “Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services across the globe” in Bonn. The event did not only gather experts from many different countries, but also transdisciplinarity was the watchword: participants ranged from the field of forest policy to forest management research, and from practitioner to policymaker. 

During the introductory panel, the projects responsible for the organization of the conference were presented. Both the INFORMAR (Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture) and the POLYFORES (Decision-making support for Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe) project were introduced by Georg Winkel (Head of EFI Bonn), while the Research Training Group ConFoBi (Conservation of Forest Biodiversity in Multiple-Use Landscapes of Central Europe) was presented by Jürgen Bauhus (Freiburg University). After a welcome note by Eva Müller, Head of the Forestry Department of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the first plenary started with a global overview of today’s forest management and practices, a “Tour de la Planète”. From Robert Nasi (Center for International Forest Research, Natalia Lukina (Russian Academy of Sciences), Christian Messier (Université du Québec à Montréal), Ulrich Schraml (Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg), and Eduardo Rojas Briales (Polytechnic University of Valencia) we learned about European forests, tropical forests, Boreal forests – including differences between Russia and Sweden –, Australian and northern American ones, as well as Mediterranean forests. It was obvious that, depending on the localization of the forests and the societal context, the perception of forest ecosystem services differs a lot, as well as forest management. According to Robert Nasi, in some tropical forests, the informal sector accounts for ten times more logging than the formal one and the deforestation rate is still increasing, so what we call “sustainable management” does not seem to be the solution. In Russia, Australia, Canada, and the US, forest management is predominantly segregated, while many European countries apply an integrative approach. Segregation versus integration, that was a returning question. We were impressed by the creativity of Ulrich Schraml (Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg) who illustrated a history of segregation and reintegration using bowling pins in different colors.

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EU forests after Brexit – future scenarios from four years ago

Before the Brexit referendum four years ago, when much of the media buzz revolved around the uncertain future of trade, immigration and stock markets, at the European Forest Institute we discussed its potential impact on forests and forest-related policy.

Even though there is no EU forest policy, there are a number of other policy instruments that directly or indirectly affect forests and their management. These range from the EU Timber Regulation or the EU Birds and Habitats Directives over the FLEGT and REDD programmes to the Common Agriculture Policy, all of which could be impacted by a possible Brexit.

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Wer ist schuld am Waldsterben?! Eine deutsche Debatte

Der derzeitige Zustand der Wälder in Deutschland wird hitzig in den Medien diskutiert, besonders in 2019, da Waldschäden erstmals großflächig auch für das ungeübte Auge sichtbar wurden. Die Debatte scheint dabei zu einem Schauplatz des verhärteten Konflikts von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft zu werden, den wir schon seit Jahrzehnten immer wieder in den Medien beobachten. Tippt man die Begriffe „Waldschäden“ oder „Wald im Klimawandel“ in eine Suchmaschine ein, wird man überschüttet mit zahllosen Artikeln, Kommentaren, Positionspapieren und Blogeinträgen verschiedener Einzelpersonen und Institutionen. Um die Struktur der Debatte und die Argumentation der unterschiedlichen Positionen zu verstehen, habe ich einen genaueren Blick auf den medialen Diskurs geworfen. Hierbei habe ich vor allem die Erzählstränge von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft, die Herleitung ihres Standpunktes und die jeweilige Rhetorik untersucht. Um die Fülle an Publikationen zu diesem Thema zu bewältigen, habe ich repräsentative Akteure von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft ausgewählt und ihre Onlinepräsenz und Publikationen untersucht. Natürlich handelt es sich bei den Ergebnissen um eine Verallgemeinerung, die nicht jedem einzelnen Akteur gerecht zu werden vermag. Dennoch zeigte sich ein interessantes Muster des Diskurses. 

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Milano Calling 2019

One year ago, in November 2018 the largest global gathering of urban forestry expertise descended on the medieval town of Mantova in northern Italy for the first World Forum on Urban Forestry (WFUF) The Forum was a place for sharing at the policy and practice level and also a platform to launch actions on ‘How Trees will save Cities’. With the momentum generated a WFUF permanent committee was established spearheaded by FAO, SISEF and the Politecnio di Milano.  One year later, and in partnership with Triennale Milano and the Comune di Milano two days of ideas and actions for new cities and countries around the world was held at the Triennale Milano in the beautiful wooded parkland of Parco Sempione. Milano Calling 2019 was more than a follow up event but also the opportunity to identify the next steps in various initiatives including the ‘Great Green Wall of Cities’ an initiative which traverses the drylands of China, the Middle East and large parts of Africa.

EFI were represented by Clive Davies, Senior Researcher, Advisor and Facilitator (IHC) on Urban Forestry at the Governance and Resilience Programme, European Forest Institute (EFI Bonn). Of particular significance was to tie in the Europe – China, CLEARING HOUSE Research and Innovation Action (RIA) which has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 847441 which EFI coordinates with the Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAF) in Beijing.

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Integrating nature protection into forest management the Danish way

Did you know that Denmark has a relatively low forest cover of 14 percent, but nonetheless has great ambitions regarding the ecosystem services they wish those forests to provide? All the more reason to understand more about how they integrate different forest functions into forest management.

I had the chance to find out more about Danish sustainable forest management – or Close-to-Nature Silviculture, as the Danes would call their particular brand – when I participated in the most recent meeting of the European Network INTEGRATE , which is currently chaired by the Danish Nature Agency.

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“Japanese forest policy is like a black box to me…”

…That thought was in my head when I entered the seminar held by Dr. Ryo Kohsaka on my first day as a communications trainee in EFI’s Bonn Office.

Thanks to Dr. Kohsaka, who is currently Professor at Nagoya University in Japan, that black box was a bit opened and illuminated.

But let us start with some background information on Japanese forestry.

Japan is the country most covered by forest (total forest area is around 25 million ha, accounting for two-thirds of the total land area of Japan) worldwide after Finland and Sweden.  Interesting was also, that Japanese people consider protection from landslide disasters as the forests’ most important function, directly followed by the prevention of global warming.

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Where is Japanese forest policy going?

What role does forest policy play in Japan? Why did the Japanese government implement a forest environment transfer tax scheme in 2019? Who is affected by this new approach to forest management? And how are the reactions from different Japanese prefectures?

On Wednesday, 13 November 2019, 12am, Professor Ryo Kohsaka from Nagoya University will introduce us to the new Japanese national forest environment transfer tax and management system. The presentation will take place at European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 6, 53113 Bonn.

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State-aid to protect Germany’s forests (Waldgipfel)

A devastating combination of heat, drought, fire, storms and beetle plagues have destroyed a remarkable amount of forest area in Germany, as well as in many countries across the globe. To discuss how this affects Germany’s forests and the different measures to counteract the impact of such threats, the Federal Agriculture Minister, Julia Klöckner, convened a Forest Summit on 25 September 2019 in Berlin. On the occasion of the summit, several institutions have published their own position to point out their perspective of what is needed to strengthen climate-resilient forests.

Besides its undoubtedly high value for nature ecosystem services, forests are the largest terrestrial carbon sink we have, and are regarded as highly important for some economies. Last two years, however, many forest owners have faced financial troubles.

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Forest Governance: How to orientate in the labyrinth of international forest policies?

By Lukas Giessen and Carmen Rodríguez

In this Blogpost Lukas Giessen and Carmen Rodríguez, both EFI staff, provide us with an insight into a recently published article on the numerous elements of international forest-related policy. The paper indicates that the many policies addressing forests in a way or another are fragmented and often conflict with one another, possibly leading to unsuccessful forest protection efforts of many governments around the globe. But this fragmentation is also found to hold promise for actors in finding allies to their own missions.

Because it is quite tricky to identify the actually relevant elements of a fragmented set of international policies, we developed a new method for mapping the entire governance architecture of international forest policy, using the United Nations Forum on Forests’ (UNFF) deliberations as key reference.

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