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Category: Forest Risks

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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A city for forests: new forest-related organisation moved to Bonn

Bonn has been the European Forest City 2020, and since the beginning of 2021 the City is now hosting another forest-related organisation, the international secretariat of FOREST EUROPE.

FOREST EUROPE Logo
FOREST EUROPE Logo

FOREST EUROPE, founded on 18 December 1990, is a high-level political process that involves ministers responsible for forests from 46 countries and the European Union (including observers from 14 additional countries and 45 organisations). The main objectives are to develop common strategies to strengthen sustainable forest management in the Pan-European domain and find proper responses to current forest policy challenges. It builds upon FOREST EUROPE’s definition of sustainable forest management and employs criteria and indicators as data basis of the Pan-European forest report (State of Europe’s Forests). As part of the process, members make decisions of highest political relevance regarding forests, forest management and socio-political topics aiming at safeguarding ecological, social and economic benefits of European forests.

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Mapping forest disturbance risk management actors

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.

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Life after recovery: how Scots pine trees compensate for drought

Did you know that researchers have linked extreme drought events to losses in forest productivity and widespread tree mortality on every forested continent on earth? As a result of climate change, in the coming decades we expect these drought events to increase in frequency, duration and intensity in many parts of the world, posing an emerging set of challenges at a scale that many contemporary forests have so far not had to deal with. This in turn means that we need to understand how forests respond to, and recover from, such events across a range of both temporal and spatial scales to ensure our forests are resilient to the challenges of a future climate. This understanding must cover everything from how between-tree variability buffers against stand-level change, which tree and stand attributes and management practices confer resilience, how different species growing in different locations respond to similar types of drought and what the long-term implications of these events mean for biodiversity, forest carbon, stand structure and forest growth, amongst many others. In our recent paper “Life after recovery: Increased resolution of forest resilience assessment sheds new light on post‐drought compensatory growth and recovery dynamics” published in the Journal of Ecology (Ovenden et al. 2021), we look at the recovery of trees after drought from a new perspective.

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Waldschäden 2.0 -und was nun?

Marcus Lindner’s Beitrag zur Ringvorlesung “Aspekte der Erderwärmung”

Auch wenn derzeit viel stillsteht: Die Universität Bonn zusammen mit Students for Future Bonn hat in diesem Semester ihre Ringvorlesung “Aspekte der Erderwärmung” fortgesetzt und bietet viele interessante Vorträge von Experten*innen aus ganz unterschiedlichen Disziplinen an (Zum kompletten Programm geht es hier ). Die Ringvorlesung findet online statt und gibt Studierenden und allen interessierten Zuhörenden die Möglichkeit, ihre Fragen live und direkt an die Vortragenden zu richten.

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Ein anderer Blick auf das „Waldbrand Klima Resilienz“-Projekt

Video und Text: Rosa Castañeda

Um die Ziele des Projekts „Waldbrand Klima Resilienz“ in einem Video wiederzugeben, war es wichtig für mich die WKR Projektaktivitäten hautnah zu erleben. Darum nahm ich an der Pressekonferenz in Bruchsal und an einem Feuerwehrtraining in Munster teil und habe mir das Ziel gesetzt, das Thema „Waldbrand“, das eine große Medienpräsenz hat, mit einer anderen Perspektive zu behandeln. Ein umfassendes Waldbrandmanagement bedeutet eben nicht nur Brände zu bekämpfen, sondern auch Prävention und Waldumbau als wichtige Elemente miteinzubeziehen.

Das Video bringt den Zuschauern das Projekt „Waldbrand Klima Resilienz“ nahe. Es zeigt das WKR-Team und die im Projekt beteiligten vielfältigen Akteure, wie Forst, Feuerwehr, Politik und Waldeigentümer, die ihre Erfahrungen miteinander teilen und für ein ganzheitliches Waldbrandmanagement zusammenarbeiten.

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“Changing our way of forest management is the key to making forests more resilient”

How can we increase the resilience of our forest to be better prepared for future natural disturbances and climate change, while maintaining a high level of wood production, carbon storage, and habitat quality for biodiversity? The project Innovative forest management strategies for a resilient bioeconomy under climate change and disturbances (I-MAESTRO) aims at improving the scientific basis for developing adequate forest management strategies. In an interview series, we are introducing the different I-MAESTRO partners and their roles in the project – and we are sharing very personal perspectives from different researchers involved. Finally, we are interviewing Laura Nikinmaa, PhD student and research fellow at European Forest Institute (EFI).

What is EFI contributing to I-Maestro?
EFI has several tasks in I-Maestro out of which updating the European forest disturbance database up to 2020 is of major importance. Many of the forest disturbance models predicting the future require adequate knowledge of the previous disturbances so the database can substantially contribute also to our understanding of the future forest disturbances. Another task of EFI is to review the literature on how forest management can affect the disturbance impact. In that task, the aim is to understand what type of forest management does have a mitigating effect on forest disturbances, incorporate this understanding into the forest management simulation models, and to analyse how do the recommended forest management practices reflect the available science.

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Investigating potential future climate, disturbance and forest management effects

How can we increase the resilience of our forest to be better prepared for future natural disturbances and climate change, while maintaining a high level of wood production, carbon storage, and habitat quality for biodiversity? The project Innovative forest management strategies for a resilient bioeconomy under climate change and disturbances (I-MAESTRO) aims at improving the scientific basis for developing adequate forest management strategies. In an interview series, we are introducing the different I-MAESTRO partners and their roles in the project – and we are sharing very personal perspectives from different researchers involved. We are now introducing Mats Mahnken, PhD researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

What is PIK contributing to I-Maestro?

PIK is involved in I-Maestro with tasks regarding forest modelling and simulation of forest dynamics taking into account environmental change effects and forest management. It is using the forest model 4C (‘FORESEE’ – Forest Ecosystems in a Changing Environment) at different spatial scales and will also be involved in work dealing with data for model comparisons and data for calibration. Thus, we are applying the expertise of the working group on Forest and Ecosystem Resilience at PIK from prior projects that focused on modelling shifts in temperature and precipitation and possible adaptive forest management on European forests as well as projects on model comparison and data harmonization.

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