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Category: Forest Resilience

The silent suffering of trees during the 2018 heatwave

New Nature Communication on the impact of the 2018 heatwave on trees growing across Central and Atlantic Europe published

Article by Ute Sass-Klaassen, Roberto L. Salomon, Georg von Arx, Kathy Steppe, Patrick Fonti, Roman Zweifel, Richard Peters, and Marcus Lindner

With the DenDrought2018 initiative, an international team of researchers is now able to tell a story about drought stress from the perception of 21 tree species across Europe. Results of their joint effort have now been published in Nature Communications under the title “The 2018 European heatwave led to stem dehydration but not to consistent growth reductions in forests” (doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-27579-9)

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Visit our new RESONATE web site!

We are very excited to announce the launch of our new RESONATE website. Now you can visit our home page, specially designed to offer the information you need about the resilience of European forests and associated value chains, and the project’s latest updates.

Our approach consists in offering customized information according to RESONATE’s different focal audiences, making it easier for you to navigate through the pages and find what you need.

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A week in the life of a marteloscopist

The morning sky is still pitch black when the alarm goes off. I wake up in a hotel room on a grey busy rainy road in a post-industrial town in southern Luxembourg. Hitting the snooze button is not an option; daylight is scarce in late November and we should really reach the forest at dawn. There is still time for a sad corona-proof breakfast though, that is to be consumed in the hotel room. Crackers, instant coffee, jam, all individually packed in plastic of course. What is good for hygiene is not necessarily good for the environment.

Before sunrise, my colleague and I get to the site of our next marteloscope. The morning fog reduces the visibility to almost nothing, but luckily our memory manages to lead us back to the place we had visited with the local forester a month earlier. Despite the dense undergrowth we had managed to survey the perimeter of the square one-hectare stand in October, but not without cutting much of the regeneration along the borders that were obstructing the view and the functioning of our measurement equipment. A tedious effort, but one less task this week. Last time the foliage was still too dense to measure heights or spot tree microhabitats. Now that most of the leaves have fallen, we can continue the inventory. Yesterday we were still in the far north of this little country, to finish precisely those tasks for the previous site. Now we are ready to wrap up the inventory of the final marteloscope in Luxembourg.

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Disturbances, forests, and people: operating the world of forest resilience

In recent weeks, the RESONATE project’s Twitter has explored different definitions for forest resilience. Some of them sounded rather similar, some very different and all of them might have left the reader with more questions: “But what does this mean in practice?”. Armed with coffee and cookies, I’ll try to enlighten the mysterious and sometimes headache-inducing world of resilience.

To make some sense of the different definitions, it is good to remember that they are rarely completely new and innovative but are based on some previous definitions from which they have been further developed. That is why some of them sound very similar but with some notable differences.

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From the birds’ eye perspective to actions on the ground

SUPERB to promote forest restoration and adaptation across Europe

by Gesche Schifferdecker and Rina Tsubaki

Imagine you were a bird flying over Europe. You would see cities and villages, rivers, agricultural landscape, and forests covering almost one-third of Europe. You will distinguish many different types of trees: dark green or more reddish, straight and tall, wide and crooked or small and slender, with many different shapes of leaves or needles. While flying over Europe, you would also encounter damaged forest areas, burned down by the fire, or destroyed by bark beetles; and tree leaves affected by air pollution and herbivorous pests, or turning yellow and brown from a drought. These disturbances overall are becoming more frequent and severe, be it due to various short-sighted human interventions or ongoing climate change. Luckily, it is not all bad news. From the air, you would also see people working in these damaged forests, planting or seeding new trees, or protecting the naturally regenerating forest against grazing. You would discover people preserving surviving old trees or even the deadwood, because these people have understood how valuable they are for a functioning ecosystem. If done right and with some luck, a diverse and healthy forest will again develop, which will be roamed once more by the many forest creatures.

While there is a widespread awareness of the urgency to conserve and restore biodiversity and halt climate change, in fact much more actions are needed on the ground to ensure long-term thriving of forests in Europe. A series of political commitments at the European level are already in place, including the 2019 European Green Deal, the 2020 EU Biodiversity Strategy and EU Forest Strategy 2030. Yet, in many places a transformative change is still needed on the ground.

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From salvage logging to recovery – visiting the Bohemian Forests after bark beetle attacks

Jumping into the deep end – or better: jumping right into deep forest: fieldworks are one of the best parts of my PhD project with Wageningen University and the Joint Research Centre. This time, together with more than 30 junior and senior researchers from all over Europe and more than 40 additional virtual participants we had the first project meeting of the RESONATE project from 4th – 6th October in Kostelec nad Černými lesy (Czech Republic). RESONATE, short for “Resilient forest value chains – enhancing resilience through natural and socio-economic responses” is a project lead by European Forest Institute, with 20 European partners. The project meeting was hosted by the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences of Czech University of Life Sciences. It took place in the castle of Kostelec and Černými lesy, operated by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, and surrounded by the Bohemian Forest. One of the most exciting parts of the event was the excursion, where we could see the effects of recent large scale bark beetle outbreaks.

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Forest recovery after large and severe disturbances in Slovenia

By Matteo Cerioni, Gal Fidej, Patrick Vallet, Marcus Lindner & Gesche Schifferdecker

After seeing thousands of hectares of spruce forest die after disturbances all over Europe in the past years, it seems like spruce is our problem child – at least in Central and Eastern Europe. Spruce died in monocultures, but was also more affected than other species by e.g. storm and bark beetle damages in mixed forest stands. This had and still has both significant ecological as well as financial impacts because spruce is an economically important species.

When looking at the future – and the increased forest disturbances we can expect due to climate change – it is crucial to find out how forests recover after being damaged. Looking at different forest areas in Slovenia hit by severe disturbances, a group of researchers from the Department for Forestry and Renewable Forest Resources at University of Ljubljana focused on the following questions: How do mixed forests with varying share of spruce recover after ice storms, bark beetle damage, and windthrow? Which regeneration characteristics are useful to assess the forest recovery? And how does forest management influence both the impact of disturbances as well as the regeneration process?

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Hotspot or jackpot? RESONATE project creates resilient forests for society

Are you a forest owner or manager, policy maker or entrepreneur working on forest related topics, are you a conservation activist or a citizen interested in wood-based products? 

You might know a forest which suffered from fire or bark-beetle damages recently.  You might have been struggling with different – and sometimes conflicting – demands to the forest, no matter if it’s your forest or you are managing it. Or did you have trouble buying wood for e.g. a garden fence or your roof yet? 

If this all doesn’t apply to you, you might still be concerned about all the recent news in the media about damages to our forests in Europe. To address these challenges, the new H2020 project RESONATE aims to generate the needed knowledge and practical guidance for making ​European forests, the services they provide, and related economic activities ​more resilient to future climate change and disturbances.  

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Europe´s eyes on Earth to combat climate change effects in forests

A new publication identified end-user needs and opportunities for the use of climate data in the forestry sector.

The changing climate and increasing disturbance risks due to extreme weather events present major challenges to the forestry sector in Europe. Besides affecting forest productivity, observed effects of climate change include changes in tree growth patterns, drought induced mortality and species distribution shifts. Despite being dramatically impacted by climate change, forests also play a major role in mitigating its effects.

Using climate information in forestry decision-making processes is key to increase the ability to adapt to climate change. Climate data can serve forestry stakeholders in assessing the habitat suitability of different tree species and support management against droughts and pests. Also, the provision of climate change projections to the forestry sector is valuable for long-term decisions on planting strategies and exploitation plans. At the same time, medium-term decisions, such as harvest operations, postponed/anticipated planting, soil treatment methods, timber transportation etc., can be informed by seasonal forecasts. Interestingly, the recent policy ambitions put in motion by the European Commission, through its European Green Deal objectives, highlight the importance of using climate change data.

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