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Category: Forest Trends

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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Which tree species is “climate fit”? The Tree App helps to decide

The new Tree App helps in all locations in Switzerland’s forests to identify the tree species that will also grow in a warmer and drier climate.

Written by Keith Anderson

Which tree species is suitable for a forest location in the future when the climate changes? This question is asked repeatedly by many forest managers and owners, for example when tending young stands, or when thinning mixed stands or planting trees. The question also arises more frequently during specific events that have a lasting impact on the forest, such as storms or pest infestations. Here, the Tree App can help, because it indicates the advisable tree species on the mobile phone and also directly on the pc.  

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Stadtwälder als “natürliche Problemlöser”?

Gelsenkirchen ist Fallstudie in grossem europäisch-chinesischem Forschungsprojekt koordiniert von EFI

Was hat Gelsenkirchen mit der chinesischen Stadt Huaibei zu tun? Auf den ersten Blick nicht viel. Dennoch wurden beide Städte – zusammen mit u.a. Barcelona und Krakau, Hongkong und Peking – als “Fallstudien-Städte” für CLEARING HOUSE, das erste europäisch-chinesische Forschungsprojekt zu urbanen Wäldern ausgewählt. Und dies aus gutem Grund: Die ausgesuchten Städte sind mit besonderen Herausforderungen konfrontiert, die teilweise auf alle zutreffen, teilweise regional-spezifisch sind: von Umweltbelastungen zu hohen Arbeitslosenquoten, von massivem industriellem Wachstum zu Chancen und Schwierigkeiten, die Migration mit sich bringt. Gemeinsam haben alle diese Städte, dass stadtnahe und städtische Wälder sowie Parks und Bäume in öffentlichen und privaten Räumen eine wichtige Rolle spielen, wenn wir den ökologischen, wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Herausforderungen begegnen wollen. Urbane Wälder erhöhen unser Wohlbefinden, sind Lebensraum für viele verschiedene Arten und wirken negativen Klimaentwicklungen wie Hitzeinseln entgegen, indem sie im heissen Sommer Schatten spenden.

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Neue Perspektiven für Wald- und Feuermanagement im Klimawandel

“Waldbrand-Klimawandel-Resilienz”. Dreijähriges Verbundprojekt zwischen EFI und FVA offiziell gestartet.

Der Sommer ist brandgefährlich – für die Wälder. Wenn es brennt, bekommt die Thematik viel Aufmerksamkeit. Eventuell kommen Löschflugzeuge zum Einsatz, und auch die Feuerwehren stehen vor massiven Herausforderungen, die Flammen einzudämmen.

Dabei (zu) wenig im Fokus stehen das aktive Feuermanagement und die Diskussion über präventive Maßnahmen, um die Ausbreitung der Feuer möglichst kontrollieren zu können. Und genau da setzt das vom Waldklimafond der Bundesregierung geförderte Projekt „Waldbrand-Klimawandel-Resilienz“(kurz WKR) an.

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