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:
However, what I do miss in most news articles is the fact that the crisis management cycle has more phases than just the response. Is that single focused reporting maybe a reason for the political ignorance of urgent needs for prevention and mitigation?
A short report on the annual Pro Silva Europa meeting in Weimar, Germany
Pro Silva is a European federation of professional foresters across 24 European countries (and more recently in New England, USA) who advocate and promote Pro Silva Close to Nature Forest Management Principles as an alternative to age-class forestry to create and maintain resilient forest ecosystems. Increasing forest resilience was also the motivation to create Pro Silva 29 years ago.
This year, the annual meeting was hosted by ANW Thuringia and the state forest administration of Thuringia in and around the city of Weimar on 20-23 June 2018. The Pro Silva Program addressed topics such as forest conversion from age-class to continuous-cover forestry, re-introduction of silver fir (and other climate-change-relevant tree species) and the ungulate-silviculture challenge of converting European forests to more biodiverse, stable and resilient forests.
Am Freitag, den 6. Juli 2018, haben Wald und Holz NRW und wir, das Bonner Büro von European Forest Institute (EFI), für die ForstchefInnen von Deutschland, Österreich, der Schweiz, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg und Südtirol eine Exkursion in den Bonner Kottenforst organisiert, um uns über das Spannungsfeld Naturschutz – nachhaltige Waldwirtschaft – Nutzung des Waldes für Erholungszwecke auszutauschen. Die Exkursion fand im Rahmen eines Treffens auf Einladung des Bundesministeriums für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL) in Bonn statt, bei dem waldpolitische Fragen diskutiert wurden.
Um die Integration der verschiedenen Waldfunktionen Nutz/Schutz/Erholung aus forstpraktischem Blickwinkel betrachten zu können, haben wir mit den Forstchefs die Marteloskopfläche „Jägerhäuschen“ besucht und gemeinsam mit Uwe Schölmerich, Leiter des Regionalforstamtes Rhein-Sieg-Erft, vorgestellt. Marteloskope sind Waldflächen, in denen alle Bäume genau vermessen wurden. Baumart, Durchmesser, Holzwert und ökologischer Besonderheiten wie Spechthöhlen oder Rindentaschen sind erfasst und in einer digitalen Karte dargestellt. Anhand dieser Beispiele können ForstmanagerInnen und Studierende, aber auch PolitikvertreterInnen und die interessierte Öffentlichkeit mithilfe einer Tabletsoftware im Wald selbst simulieren, wie man Naturschutzaspekte und wirtschaftliche Erwartungen miteinander in Einklang bringen kann.
Nature is the diversity of living organisms on Earth. It constitutes an essential element for human well-being and for ecosystems services (such as food production, water cycles, soil fertility).
In Europe several studies have demonstrated a steady loss of animal and plant species related to forest, caused for example by intensive land use, invasive alien species introduction, pollution and global warming (EEA short report on Biodiversity, 2008). Maintenance of biodiversity in forests will support its resilience to natural and human pressures. It contributes for example to the mitigation of raising temperatures and to food security.
I have recently been working on several mandatory and voluntary tools supporting nature conservation in forests, and I would like to introduce some of the most important here.
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?
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.
A very sunny June 2018 was also a very dry June! And I mean dry:
The sunshine duration in June with about 215 hours of sunshine reached 108 percent of the target of 198 hours. Persistent drought in the northeast, severe thunderstorms in the southwest:
At around 50 l / m², June reached only 57 percent of its target nationwide (85 l / m²). The month was very poor in Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, which had already been part of the drought affected areas in May. In Wittenberg for instance, from April 27 to June 20, only 0.9 l / m² were recorded. The drought had a catastrophic effect, because in addition to numerous wildfires, agriculture and forestry is already suffering enormous drought related damage.
Discussing solutions and searching for more resilience forests
How are different European countries dealing with bark beetle outbreaks and which role do questions like sanitary cutting, monitoring systems, forest ownership, windstorms and expectations towards nature conservation play? What are the challenges regarding climate change? How do the social perception of active and inactive forest management impact forester’s activities in local forests? Which tools should be used to cope with natural disturbances and how we can educate foresters, policy makers, and other relevant stakeholders? Following the invitation of the Polish Ministry of Environment and the Polish State Forests, we discussed these and more issues in the Białowieża Forest during a working seminar of the European Network INTEGRATE from 25-27 June 2018.
Informed decision-making requires information from both past experiences and knowledge about the future. This also applies to forest-based sector – especially when considering challenges like climate change mitigation or biodiversity conservation. While the future can be difficult to predict, one way to analyse it is to use scenario-planning methods. However, the use of scenario is also a process of priority-setting, more specifically, scenarios are a reflection of sectoral, public and other development priorities. Having this in mind, the paper Deconstructing a complex future: Scenario development and implications for the forest-based sector which is published in Forest Policy and Economics reviews how the use of scenarios may affect EU forest-related policy.
Since 1995, the Bonn-based German expert for green impact investing ForestFinance has been planting forests in the project countries Panama, Peru, Colombia and Vietnam. Now, the reforestation company has just planted its ten millionth tree.
“In 2009, we planted and celebrated our millionth tree in Panama City in the presence of the Panamanian Minister of Environmental Affairs. Today – nine years later – we have increased this number tenfold. We have achieved this together with over 19,000 customers and environmentally conscious investors,” explains Harry Assenmacher, founder of the ForestFinance Group.
Programms of afforestation to create forests increase carbon capture and carbon sequestration, and help to anthropogenically improve biodiversity.