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Category: Forest Trends

Mit Forschung Waldzukunft in Nordrhein-Westfalen gestalten

Umweltministerin Heinen-Esser: „Die Wissenschaft leistet einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Waldbewirtschaftung im Klimawandel und bei der Wiederbewaldung der geschädigten Flächen.“

Die Entwicklung der Waldzukunft stand im Mittelpunkt der zweitägigen virtuellen Forschungskonferenz, die heute Mittag zu Ende gegangen ist. Rund 60 Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler diskutierten aktuelle Erkenntnisse und Forschungsansätze. Übergeordnetes Ziel war und ist der Aufbau klimastabiler Wälder mit ihren vielfältigen Funktionen für die Gesellschaft. „Die Wissenschaft leistet einen wichtigen Beitrag zur Waldbewirtschaftung im Klimawandel und bei der Wiederbewaldung der geschädigten Flächen“, betonte Umweltministerin Ursula Heinen-Esser die Rolle der Wissenschaft bei der Bewältigung der anstehenden Herausforderungen anlässlich der Veranstaltung. 

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Marteloscopes and Carbon – a missing piece of the puzzle?

Witten by Huntley Brownell and Andrew Stratton

Many readers of this blog are likely familiar with marteloscopes (if not, click here to read more). We think our story demonstrates the remarkable educational potential of this tool, and we would like to share it with you.

Our story begins deep in the Black Forest, outside of Freiburg in Germany. It was long, long ago, before corona times: the autumn of 2018. We were part of a group of MSc students studying Forest and Nature Management on a study tour from the University of Copenhagen, and we were brought to visit the Rosskopf marteloscope.

By now we all understand the limitations of virtual meetings; back then the forty of us, carefree and not at all socially distanced, took for granted the vibrant educational environment of in-person learning. With tablets in hand, groups of students and professors explored the marteloscope, observing, discussing, debating – sometimes passionately – the harvesting trade-offs we were considering in the exercise. Questions arose: how will our decisions affect stand biodiversity? How will the stand develop in the future if we harvest certain trees now? Are some microhabitats more important than others? What is biodiversity anyway? How much is that tree worth?

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“Unser Wald stirbt vor unseren Augen” – spannender Doku-Tipp

Stürme, Trockenheit, Borkenkäfer – unsere deutschen Wälder standen in den vergangenen Jahren vor großen Herausforderungen.

Wussten Sie, dass viele Förster*innen in den letzten Jahren nicht nur mit großen Waldschäden zu kämpfen hatten, sondern auch unter Druck geraten sind, wenn sie wieder aufforsten müssen? Können Sie sich vorstellen, wie unser Wald in 100 Jahren aussehen wird? Was genau muss getan werden, um die Resilienz der Wälder zu erhöhen?

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Invitation to Virtual Conference “Payments for Ecosystem Services: Forest for Water”

The PESFOR-W COST action is inviting you to its final conference. PESFOR-W is looking into the positive impact that woodlands and trees can have on water quality, and how the instruments of payments for ecosystem services (PES, also called eco-schemes) can co-fund tree-based interventions by land owners and land managers. The aim of the PESFOR-W COST Action is to synthesize knowledge, provide guidance and encourage collaborative research to improve Europe’s capacity to use Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) to achieve Water Framework Directive (WFD) targets & other policy objectives through incentives for planting woodlands to reduce agricultural diffuse pollution to watercourses.

The conference will introduce the state-of-the-art in the field, and will showcase the work done by the members of the COST action. Three stakeholders from policy, science and practice will illustrate what Woodland-for-Water PES can do and how they implement them.

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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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Innovating with forests’ resources and integrated mindsets

Through human history, forests have provided a great variety of natural resources such as woods, nuts, and fruits. While we have gotten accustomed to these conventional resources, the current environmental crisis has pushed interdisciplinary research to innovate with bio-based materials as an effort to contribute to a bio-based economy.

For the past decade, a great variety of bio-based materials have been developed to replace synthetic packaging, structural materials, leather, and other fossil fuel dependent materials. Many of these are made of agricultural waste such as corn starch, leaves from different plants, coffee waste, and a large etcetera. Moreover, other bio-based materials are developed by harnessing living systems such as mycelium (the root of fungi), algae, and bacteria. This relatively new practical approach (in material design) is called Biodesign.

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Growing forests: What benefits does natural forest expansion offer to society?

Forests in Europe are expanding. Despite headlines highlighting threats to forests and their ecosystems, like deforestation and natural disturbances due to the climate crisis, Europe’s forested area is steadily growing. One reason is active afforestation, or planting trees, as a common approach to increase forest area, while forest owners or managers often plant species for future harvesting or other reasons, partially supported by governmental subsidies. Yet, this is not the only explanation for Europe’s growing forested area.

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Spontaneous forest regrowth in Southwest Europe: Friend or Foe?

New publication on spontaneous forest regrowth in abandoned rural and peri-urban areas sheds light on the complex management issues that arise when land-use transforms.

Think about a natural space that is familiar to you. Open areas around your city, agricultural land around your village, or pastureland in the mountains where you grew up. Think about how they looked in the 1950s or 1960s, or even search for pictures if you don’t know or don’t remember. Do they look the same? If you’re from Southwest Europe, we suspect they don’t. The pastures you remember are slowly getting encroached upon by shrubs and trees. The farmlands from your village are no longer being used, and are now woodlands. Depending on the case, maybe even a pretty dense one.

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From the past winds to future storms – updating the Database of Forest Disturbances in Europe

What if we had a database covering all forest disturbances in Europe over the past 170 years? Would we be able to identify patterns of old disturbance regimes, analyse how they have changed over the years with forest management and climate change, and make predictions on how the future disturbances will look like? Could we be better prepared for what is to come?

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