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Category: Forest Risks

Is European forest management out of alignment with natural patterns in disturbances?

by Joshua Brow, University of Vermont

European forests are in trouble. “Not because they’re being lost,” says University of Vermont scientist William Keeton. “Europe, actually, is greener and more heavily forested now than it has been in centuries.” But many of the continent’s forests are suffering major insect outbreaks, forest disease problems, increasing frequencies of wind-storms, and more-intense fires.
To help give forest managers and policymakers new options, Keeton and a large team of European scientists completed an extensive, multi-year study of forests in thirteen countries across the continent.

Their results show that most current forest management in Europe doesn’t imitate the patterns of nature—specifically, the complex patterns created by natural disturbances that leave behind a mosaic of tree types, ages, and sizes; standing and downed dead wood; and highly variable, resilient landscapes.

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What does social media engagement around the Amazon rainforest fires tell us about public narratives? – Takeaways from our analysis

During the months of August and September 2019, the Amazon rainforest fires captured global attention. Celebrities, politicians and other public figures spoke up and shared…

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Die Zukunft des Waldes in NRW – Diskussion mit Politikvertreter*innen

Von Holzbau und Windkraft im Wald zum Lebensraum für zahlreiche Pflanzen und Tiere, vom Erholungsort für uns Menschen zum CO2-Speicher: Wir sind heute mehr denn je auf die vielfältigen Leistungen unserer regionalen Wälder angewiesen. In Zeiten von Klimawandel und intensiven Störungen wie Sturm, Dürre und Borkenkäfernmüssen wir uns aber auch verstärkt die Frage stellen, wie wir diese Leistungen in Zukunft sichern können. Eine gemeinsame Antwort auf diese Herausforderungen hat die Landesregierung NRW im Dezember 2019 mit Verbänden aus Forst- und Holzwirtschaft, Naturschutz und Berufsvertretung formuliert, in dem sie den Waldpakt „Klimaschutz für den Wald – unser Wald für den Klimaschutz“ unterzeichnet hat.

Nur gesunde und vielfältige Wälder können ihre Potenziale für den Klimaschutz, die nachhaltige Rohstofferzeugung und die biologische Vielfalt voll ausschöpfen – aber was sind die politischen Ziele rund um den Waldpakt, und wie stehen Vertreterinnen und Vertreter der im Land und/oder Bund regierenden Parteien im Jahr 2022 dazu?

Aus Anlass der anstehenden Landtagswahl in NRW, veranstalten die am Waldpakt beteiligten Verbände, auf Initiative des Forstvereins NRW am 5. April von 18-19:30 Uhr eine Diskussionsrunde mit politischen Entscheidungsträgerinnen über die verschiedenen Handlungsfelder des Waldpaktes. Damit sollen alle am Wald Interessierten Gelegenheit bekommen, sich über die zukünftigen politischen Ziele rund um den Wald in NRW zu informieren. Die Anmeldung erfolgt über Eventbrite: Die Zukunft des Waldes in NRW – Diskussion mit Politikvertreter*innen Tickets, Di, 05.04.2022 um 18:00 Uhr | Eventbrite

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Webinar Recap – Climate change adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation in European forests: different sides of the same coin?

Do climate adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation goals walk hand in hand when it comes to the management of Europe’s forests? Or are they closely related, but essentially different pursuits?

As the climate and biodiversity crises aggravate, forest ecosystems are at the interplay of multiple and often competing policy priorities, resulting both in synergies and in trade-offs. These pose challenges not only to policymakers but also to private forest owners, who own 60% of the forests in Europe and face difficult choices ahead as they aim for more resilient forest ecosystems while preserving their productivity.

To unravel the complexities of the topic, EFI and IUCN invited representatives from the EU Commission, academia, and the advocacy and policy arenas to debate key issues related to integrated forest management at the webinar “Are climate change adaptation, mitigation and biodiversity conservation in European forests: two sides of the same coin?”, hosted on the 2nd of March 2022. The event was organised within the framework of the SINCERE Horizon 2020 project and of the Integrate Network, which were introduced by Marko Lovric, SINCERE project coordinator and Senior Researcher at EFI’s Bioeconomy Programme, and Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of EFI’s Bonn Office and Resilience programme, representing the Integrate Secretariat.

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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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