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Category: INTEGRATE

“Dialogue with interest groups in the forest needs to be intensified” – an interview with Thomas Haußmann

Thomas Hausmann, who has a background in forestry and is working with the the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture since many years, was one of the initiators of the European Network Integrate, which is connecting people from forest management, and nature conservation, science and
policy-making to overcome political polarization and limited dialogue between sectoral silos. With almost 20 member countries and more than 100 demonstration sites, the network promotes the integration of nature conservation into sustainable forest management. We have spoken with Thomas about the history of the network, challenges faced and future perspectives.

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Uwe Schölmerich: a tribute by EFI Bonn

In January 2021, our esteemed colleague Uwe Schölmerich, Head of the State Forest Enterprise Rhein-Sieg-Erft from the regional forest service “Wald und Holz NRW” retired. This blogpost is a retrospective on our fruitful collaboration with a forest manager who was rightly described by his colleagues as “deeply dedicated to both the forest and people”. 

When EFI opened a new office in Bonn in 2017, the few employees had little to no affiliation to their new surroundings, let alone to the forests in that region. As the former capital of Western Germany and a bustling hub of international organisations, Bonn was a strategic location more than anything else. 

After spending the first few months in a temporary location, EFI Bonn moved to its final premises on the Platz der Vereinten Nationen in 2018. From the first floor hallway of this building, many new employees caught their first glimpse of the forest embracing the city’s Western boundaries. What initially was no more than a background scenery, quickly turned into an impactful presence in our everyday work, as EFI Bonn slowly started to spread its roots into the fertile soils of the Lower Rhine Bay and its adjacent hills. 

The forest that they saw on the western horizon, the Kottenforst, turned out to be managed by a wise, dedicated and friendly man and forester named Uwe Schölmerich.

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Once upon a time… there was a marteloscope.

Stories of integrated forest management in Luxembourg

During times when polarisation seems to be on the rise on many levels, a growing number of forest managers is choosing to do the opposite and to bridge differences instead. The Integrate Network has since 2016 been exchanging information on forest management ideas that combine wood production with nature conservation, a feat which may sound contradictory to some but in many cases offers plenty of advantages compared to a segregated approach. The members, governmental organizations from 18 different European countries, reflect a diverse view on forestry, characterised by a variety of factors that differ from one region to another. The common theme is the belief that production and protection do not have to exclude each other, quite the opposite.

The open exchange of experiences in the Integrate Network is increasingly attracting interest, not only from policy makers but also from practitioners. The network of marteloscopes serves to demonstrate and visualise potential trade-offs between economy and ecology on a stand level, allowing on-field training for everyone with a professional or non-professional interest in forest management.

It is always exciting when new marteloscope sites are added to the steadily expanding list, but even more so when a new country decides to join the network. This was the case for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 2019. ProSilva and the Nature and Forest Administration of Luxembourg contacted EFI to set up its first marteloscopes. As a Belgian I had been in Luxembourg several times before but still the beauty and the diversity of the landscapes of this small country never seize to amaze me.

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Diversification of forest management systems in Ireland

Using marteloscope sites for educating on new approaches

A large number of private forests in Ireland are less than 30 years of age and many are approaching thinning stage. There is now greater need for owners to understand and control the thinning process in order to realise the full value of their forests as part of a sustainable management approach. This is imperative if a sustained level of timber mobilisation is to be achieved from private forests. There is also a growing demand, coming from forest owners, for diversification of management systems to complement the current clear fell-replant system. Recent developments in European and national forestry policy are directed at promoting integrated management as a means of enhancing forest resilience in the face of climate disruption, sustaining forest production and delivering diverse ecosystem services. These new systems, known as Continuous Cover Forestry (CCF), enable commercial timber harvesting while retaining a forest cover in the long term.

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“Naturschutz geht nicht ohne den Verzicht durch den Menschen” – Interview mit Förster Andreas Pommer

Andreas Pommer ist Leiter des Forstrevier Eibenstock im Staatsbetrieb Sachsenforst. Das Revier Eibenstock ist ein Mittelgebirgsrevier im Erzgebirge mit einem Fichtenanteil im Oberstand von über 90%, mit einer leidvollen Geschichte, die durch die Rauchschäden und durch das Rotwildstaatsjagdgebiet der 1970er–1980er Jahre und einem hohen Schadholzanteil in der Vergangenheit geprägt wurde. In “seinem” Wald hat es sich Andreas Pommer seit etwa 15 Jahren zum Ziel gemacht, Waldwirtschaft und Naturschutz miteinander zu vereinbaren – mit naturgemäßem Waldbau, Waldumbau hin zu strukturreichen, gemischten Wäldern. Eine wichtige Rolle spielen auch Totholz, Biotopbäume, Hochstubben, Moorrevitalisierungen, Bachtalrenaturierungen, Anlage von Kleingewässern, Waldinnen- und -außenrandgestaltung sowie Nisthilfen. Teilweise nutzt Pommer auch innovative Methoden wie Marteloskope, um für Naturschutz zu sensibilisieren. Deswegen hat die Zeitschrift “Forstpraxis” ihn auch für 2020 für den Titel “Förster des Jahres” vorgeschlagen. Wir haben mit Andreas Pommer ein persönliches Gespräch über Herausforderungen für die Forstwirtschaft in Zeiten des Klimawandels und wachsender Erwartungen an den Wald geführt – und über potentielle “integrative” Lösungsansätze, wie wir möglichst viele Waldfunktionen integrieren und unseren Wald langfristig und gesund erhalten können.

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“The Integrate approach allows us to improve the efficiency of forests to deliver ecosystem services” – interview with Enrico Pompei

From the Roman Empire to present day: Italy looks back at a long history of cultivating land and making use of forest products. With Enrico Pompei, Director of National and International Forestry Policies of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies we discussed current targets and challenges of forest management in Italy as well as advantages of collaboration and exchange of experiences between different stakeholders involved in the field of forest decision making from local to European level.

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Embrace the Green Deal!

Integrate Webinar: Green Deal’s perspectives on forests and forestry in the time of Covid and Greta

On 24 June, the Integrate Network facilitated by the European Forest Institute organised the first Integrate Webinar. The webinar focused on the European Green Deal and its impacts on forest management and protection in Europe, with a special focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation into sustainable forest management – which is the main focus of the Network.

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Poland: #stayhome & in touch with wild nature

by Anna Żornaczuk-Łuba and Izabela Czyżyk

Do you want to see wild animals without leaving home? The Polish State Forests makes it possible.

Article 3 of the Polish Nature Conservation Act states that nature protection goals are achieved, among others, through conducting educational, information and promotional activities in the field of nature conservation. Therefore, the Polish State Forests is initiating digital activities to promote knowledge about rare species of Polish and European fauna. 

A first online transmission of a bird’s nest started in 2012, as an effect of the cooperation between the State Forests and the NGO Eagle Protection Committee (Komitet Ochrony Orłów). The white-tailed sea-eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla) nest, that could be observed by internet users, was watched by up to 80,000 viewers per day.  

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International Day of Forests

How the European Network Integrate is raising awareness for forests by inviting society into the woods of Europe

On 21 March 2020, the International Day of Forests was planned to be celebrated with activities taking place all over the world. The day is about raising awareness of the importance of forests, and this years’ theme was Forests and Biodiversity. Like with many other cases these days, the COVID-19 pandemic required activities to be cancelled. Creative virtual alternatives were made and the FAO, as the principal initiator of International Day of forests, conducted an online event instead (http://www.fao.org/international-day-of-forests/en/). During the event, it was underlined that much of our planet’s biodiversity is found in forests, and therefore “The conservation of the world’s biodiversity depends on how we use and look after our forests,” said Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, FAO.

The emphasis on biodiversity fits into the aim of the European Network Integrate to advance forest management approaches for the integration of nature conservation into sustainable forest management. This is done at three levels: the decision-making policy level, the level of forest practitioners/managers, and the level of forest research and academic knowledge. The Network currently comprises close to 20 European Member States (both EU and non-EU countries) and involves about 50 representatives of policy and research related to forests and environment as well as the European Commission. As part of this initiative, close to 100 Marteloscope demonstration sites have been established all over Europe. Marteloscopes are silvicultural training sites of usually one hectare in which all trees are numbered, mapped and recorded. Using an evaluation and simulation software, virtual tree selection exercises can be performed. The training includes the identification of key habitat elements and structures, which is a crucial pre-requisite for the integration of biodiversity conservation aspects into commercial forest management. The application of different management goals and their effects on the economic and ecological values of the stand can then be objectively discussed by the participants onsite.

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Integrating nature protection into forest management the Danish way

Did you know that Denmark has a relatively low forest cover of 14 percent, but nonetheless has great ambitions regarding the ecosystem services they wish those forests to provide? All the more reason to understand more about how they integrate different forest functions into forest management.

I had the chance to find out more about Danish sustainable forest management – or Close-to-Nature Silviculture, as the Danes would call their particular brand – when I participated in the most recent meeting of the European Network INTEGRATE , which is currently chaired by the Danish Nature Agency.

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