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Category: Forest Risks

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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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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Wird in Europa tatsächlich mehr Holz geerntet? Neue Studie stellt Forschungsergebnisse in Frage

Interview mit Forstexperten zu neuen Forschungsergebnissen

Heute ist mit “Concerns about reported harvests in European forests” in Nature eine vom European Forest Institute (EFI) koordinierte Antwort auf die umstrittene Nature-Studie von Ceccherini et al. “Abrupt increase in harvested forest area over Europe after 2015” (Abrupte Zunahme der geernteten Waldfläche in Europa nach 2015) veröffentlicht worden, die deren Ergebnisse stark in Zweifel zieht. In dem Antwort-Artikel zeigen EFI’s Direktor Marc Palahí und 29 Kolleg*innen aus 13 europäischen Ländern, dass die von der Gemeinsamen Forschungsstelle der Europäischen Kommission berichteten großen Waldverluste vor allem auf methodische Fehler zurückzuführen sind.

Mit Jürgen Bauhus, Marc Hanewinkel (beide Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg), Marcus Lindner (EFI), Rupert Seidl und Cornelius Senf (beide Technische Universität München) haben wir verschiedene an der Antwort-Studie beteiligte deutsche Wissenschaftler befragt, um die wissenschaftlichen Ergebnisse in einen größeren waldpolitischen, ökonomischen und ökologischen Kontext einordnen zu können und die methodischen Aspekte etwas genauer zu beleuchten.

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When wells run dry our oaks decline, too

How groundwater access impacts the resilience of oaks to drought

Fresh water is essential to all living creatures and humans have become particularly well-versed in using it for both business and pleasure. We use it grow our food, to run our industries and even to flush our toilets in many countries. Much of the fresh water used in the world comes from the groundwater, and the extraction of groundwater is likely to increase more in the future, partly due to droughts. However, a recent study conducted by researchers from the University of Freiburg and published in Scientific Reports shows that extracting the groundwater to water our gardens can cause serious problems to forests growing on the areas from where the water is taken.

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Best practice for forest disturbance management in Europe

From storm events to megafires, from drought to bark beetle damage – with intensified forest disturbance regimes during the last decades we have learned that if we want to mitigate forest risks and prevent negative impacts, we cannot only focus on emergency response and recovery. Thus, preventing disturbances and making forests more resilient has significantly gained in importance along with the insight that we need to learn how to live with intensified disturbances. In the past three years, several networking activities and events as well as fast track sharing of experiences and knowledge during forest related risks crisis have been organized in the framework of the project SUstaining and Enhancing REsilience of European Forests (SURE). These activities were aiming at promoting and further developing a European Forest Risk Facility, an evolving knowledge hub consisting of several organisations and experts from all over Europe, coming from the fields of academia, forest practice and risk management, policy and society. After three years (2017-2020) of fruitful activities within SURE, the project reached an end, and we use this opportunity to look back, reflect upon and summarize our work.

Those who are interested in an overview of all the events and activities that took place within the project are invited to check out the record of activities on our website.

Moreover, the latest outputs that were already presented during our final conference in August 2020 are now available online. First, the tool compendium was compiled as an open platform documenting all the learned lessons across Europe collected during the SURE project. Second, we created a map of forest risk management actors, describing the existing responsibilities and disturbance risk governance structures in several European countries. 

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