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Category: Forest Risks

An Orwellian debate on the national parks in Slovakia: What can a scientist do in a post-truth era?

Should we foster commodity production or biodiversity in our forests? Or try to integrate them both? When working on and with forests, certain tensions and occasional conflicts between representatives of forest management and nature conservation are a notorious part of our lives. In some places, the animosities are more obvious than in others, though integrative approaches are obviously gaining attraction. I share here my recent observations from Slovakia, my home country with diverse forests passing from the High Tatras with an iconic national park to the Danube Lowland with dry oak forests. Recent political decisions concerning the fate of our national parks upheaved society once again and made me realize how data and knowledge can be misused to back up any policy in place, rather than provide impartial grounds for knowledge-based decisions.

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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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Wildfire Diaries Episode VII: “The living proof of the value of exchange”

The latest edition of the Wildifire Diaries by Vallfirest starring Alex Held, Senior Expert of Fire Management, Silviculture and Wildlife at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and project leader of “Waldbrand-Klima-Resilienz” (Forestfires-Climate-Resilience , in short: WKR).

In this episode Alex chats about how he started as a firefighter in South Africa as a complete greenhorn, facing unbelievable extents of fire, but also learning about tools used for fire management he has not seen before.

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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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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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Blickwinkel Waldbrandmanagement – Interview mit Prof. Dr. Michael Müller

Waldbrandmanagement ist eine integrale Aufgabe. Das heißt, Akteure aus ganz verschiedenen Bereichen arbeiten gemeinsam an einem ganzheitlichen Waldbrandmanagement und dazu gehört neben dem eigentlichen Feuerlöschen…

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Mit Sechstklässlern ab in den Wald

Bäume ausmessen, ihr Alter bestimmen, Frosche und Blätter sammeln… Wie kann man Schüler*innen den Wald näher bringen? Alexander Held und Andreas Schuck haben mit einer sechsten Klasse einen Ausflug in das Mooswald Marteloskop in der Nähe von Freiburg gemacht. Hier kann man den unterhaltsamen Bericht einer Schülerin lesen.

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Looking beyond the flames: When does an extreme wildfire start?

Written by Isabeau Ottolini Isabeau Ottolini is an Early Stage Researcher within the European ITN project, PyroLife. She is researching Community-based Communications on extreme wildfires. For the next few months, she is part of our EFI…

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Blickwinkel Waldbrandmanagement: Interview mit Detlef Maushake

Waldbrandmanagement ist eine integrale Aufgabe. Das heißt, Akteure aus ganz verschiedenen Bereichen arbeiten gemeinsam an einem ganzheitlichen Waldbrandmanagement. Dazu gehört neben dem eigentlichen Feuerlöschen auch die präventive Arbeit, um die Resilienz der Wälder zu erhöhen und damit die negativen Effekte von Bränden zu minimieren. Waldbrandmanagement setzt die Beteiligung von unterschiedlichen Sektoren und Waldbesitzarten voraus, die in der nun gestarteten Interviewreihe des Projekts “Waldbrand-Klima-Resilienz” (WKR) dargestellt werden. Das Interview ist ursprünglich auf der WKR-Projektseite erschienen.

Detlef Maushake geht durchs Feuer, um andere besser darauf vorbereiten zu können. Er ist Gründer und 1. Vorsitzender des Waldbrandteam e.V , ein wichtiger Projektpartner von WKR. Das Waldbrandteam ist ein Zusammenschluss von Feuerwehrleuten, spezialisiert auf Vegetations- und Flächenbrände und daher im akuten Brandfall oft als Experten vor Ort vertreten. Darüber hinaus bietet das Team um Detlef Maushake regelmäßig Fort- und Ausbildungen an, unter anderem zum “kontrollierten Brennen als Präventivmaßnahme im Waldbrandmanagement” und zur “Flächenpflege im Naturschutz”. Im Rahmen des WKR-Projekts konnte bereits ein gemeinsames Ausbildungsseminar in Munster (“Leben in der Lage”) veranstaltet werden.

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