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Category: Media

Waldbrände – Wenn der Klimawandel Mensch und Natur bedroht

Waldbrandexperte Alexander Held im Gespräch mit G’Scheitholz! über Waldbrand, Prävention und Bekämpfung

Waldbrände prägen seit Jahrhunderten die mediterranen Landschaften in Südeuropa. Aber auch in Mitteleuropa werden Waldbrände immer häufiger und riskanter. Sowohl Klimawandel als auch Trends in der Landnutzung und Landschaftveränderungen führen weltweit zu extremer Feueraktivität und stellen die verschiedenen Regionen vor neue Herausforderungen.

Die Prävention von Waldbränden müsste noch mehr zur Zielsetzung werden, meint Waldbrandexperte Alexander Held vom European Forest Insitute im Gespräch mit dem österreichischen Klimaschutz-podcast G’Scheitholz!. Zwar können wir nicht alle Feuer verhindern, doch eine gute Prävention kann dafür sorgen, dass die Feuer, die auftreten, beherrschbar bleiben für die Feuerwehr. Das bedeutet beispielsweise die Brandlast, also die Menge an Brennmaterial, an Waldwegen zu reduzieren und mehr Pufferzonen zu schaffen.

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What Twitter images tell us about COP27 issues: A focus on the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership and Biodiversity Day

In our previous exploration we looked at how Twitter hashtags can help us inquire into emerging public issues around global events like COP27. In our rapid exploration, based on the digital methods recipes developed by SUPERB partners at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London and the Public Data Lab, we identified different ways people engage with forest restoration through keywords like #conservation, #afforestation, and #rewild. Hashtags such as #forestsarenotfuel and #lettreesgrow problematised the economic use of forests. Political matters also came up, linking the Amazon rainforest and changing politics in Brazil.

COP27 was undeniably an important meeting to follow up on last year’s Glasgow Leader’s Declaration on Forests and Land Use, where over 140 world leaders pledged to “halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030”. This year’s COP also saw dozens of governments collectively announcing the Forests and Climate Leaders’ Partnership (FCLP), and the day dedicated to biodiversity acted as a platform to discuss the progress of the Glasgow commitment.

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COP27 on Twitter: Forest restoration issues and narratives through hashtags

Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has prompted confusion among its users and concerns about the platform’s future. Musk’s tweets are gathering daily attention due to large-scale layoffs and safety concerns around the new paid blue verification mark. To make things worse, as its engineers are on their way out of the door, users are also experiencing various technical glitches on the platform. Millions of users – including journalists, researchers and organisations – are already signing up on alternative platforms to be prepared for the platform’s deterioration and demise.  

While no one can predict Twitter’s future, it remains widely used by politicians, scientists, companies, NGOs and influencers who are still busy posting on the platform. This includes COP27 in Egypt, where Twitter was one of the main platforms to report on the event. #cop27 has been tweeted over 2.85 million times since 5 November 2022.  

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EFI-Experte und Waldbrandökologe Alex Held zu Gast bei hart aber fair 

Im Rahmen der ARD-Themenwoche „Dürre” hat auch die Politik-Talkshow hart aber fair am 29. August sich des Themas angenommen und über die Folgen der Dürre für Mensch und Natur diskutiert. In diesem Zusammenhang ging es natürlich auch um die Gefahr von Waldbränden und das Waldbrandjahr 2022, das bereits als trauriges „Rekordjahr“ bezeichnet wird. Dafür wurde unser EFI-Kollege Alex Held als Experte eingeladen. In einem Einzelgespräch mit Moderator Frank Plasberg räumte der WKR-Projektleiter und Waldbrandökologe mit Mythen über Waldbrand-Ursachen auf und erklärt, inwieweit Deutschland und unsere Wälder auf diese intensiven Brände vorbereitet sind.  

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Exploring the world of investigative journalism: Some takeaways from the panel session at the International Forest Policy Meeting (#IFPM4) 

From wildfires to deforestation in the tropics, journalism brings various forest-related issues to the public attention. Yet, one of the main concerns from the scientific communities is the issue of ‘speed over accuracy’, where many news journalists fail to report complex topics without providing contextual background. Particularly in the digital age, when the speed of news is faster than ever before, there is even more pressure on today’s news industry to report forest-related issues in a timely and accurate manner.  

The good news is that there is a wide variety of journalism practices that take serious consideration of the process for inquiry. In particular, investigative journalists take a unique approach to exploring the issues in depth before jumping to a quick conclusion. Many investigative journalists spend years following a single issue by working closely with scientific experts and mastering the skills to wrangle complex (and often unstructured) data to identify the links that no one has ever addressed in the news. 

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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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Insights on “Engaging with Media” Workshop

What makes forest-related topics newsworthy? How can we humanize our stories and constantly create better engagement with readers, without repeating the same story over and over?

Media plays a vital role informing about forest-related issues, especially when linked to the role forests play in climate change. However, these topics are often very complex and thus difficult to explain in detail to a general public so that they have a clear understanding of how for instance, climate change is affecting the state of forests. Furthermore, media is often attracted by specific narratives, for example the potential of forests to mitigate climate change and attempts to “sell” forests as the ultimate solution – which is too short-sighted. Thus, we need to find ways to tell stories entailing important and correct information in a way that people can relate to and empathize with. But how can we achieve that?

Discussions around these topics are tackled in our communications training series, an initiative from the European Integrate Network secretariat. In our second workshop “Engaging with Media,” taking place on 24th June 2021 as a virtual event, we learned about the many challenges faced but also solutions that scientists, journalists, politicians, and practitioners can offer when communicating about forests.

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