Wildfeuer auf kontaminierten Flächen

Hier ein Update zu einem erneuten Brand auf ehemaligem Militärgelände (Quelle: Spiegel online) und meine Kommentare dazu.

In Deutschland, vor allem im Osten, gibt es tausende Hektar aktive oder ehemalige Truppenübungsplätze. Naturschutzfachlich sind diese Flächen auf Grund der ehemaligen militärischen Störung äußerst wertvoll und zumeist auch NATURA 2000- Flächen. Leider sind die militärischen Hinterlassenschaften (UXO Unexploded Ordnace) nicht so wertvoll, sondern gefährden Umwelt, Boden, Grundwasser und im Falle von Wildfeuern auch die Einsatzkräfte.

Zwei Fragen stellen sich: Wie können wir den Offenland-Charackter dieser Natura 2000 Flächen erhalten und gleichzeitig die Sicherheit der Einsatzkräfte im Brandfall erhöhen?

It’s not too late to ensure your spot in Sardinia!

There is still time to submit an abstract to present at this year’s two satellite events during the European Forest Institute annual conference taking place in September on the second biggest island of Italy – Sardinia.

Both events touch upon the aspect of biodiversity at the level of genes. In fact, a rich genetic diversity of forest trees is like a resilience insurance: in the face of a climate change and pests and diseases, some trees will have genes that are resistant to these disturbances, thusenabling the forest to recover after some time.

However, the two scientific seminars go beyond resilience and genetic diversity.

Unusual Record: UK burnt area largest in Europe – so far

Thanks to the careful observation of colleagues at Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) we are able to report an unusual “record”: As of 11 June 2018, the largest burnt forest area in this year so far in Europe can be found in the United Kingdom. We are looking at 8049 ha of burnt area  that is more than the combined burnt area of Spain, Portugal, France and Italy together.

Forest Policy means Resilience – Wageningen Meeting

What do we mean when we talk about forest policy and governance? We also mean resilience. The Second International Forest Policy Meeting has presented it quite clearly.

More than hundred participants from 20 countries attended the Second International Forest Policy Meeting which took place in Wageningen between 11th and 13th of April. During the event, participants discussed four main themes: 1. Forest governance, 2. International policy&politics, 3. Community&society, and 4. Conflict&control. They could undeniably experience that forest policy is way more than the actions of powerful actors operated within an institutional structure and enhanced by bureaucracy.

Can forests be legal entities?

It seems obvious to most of us that specific species, animals, and plants, are protected by special laws and regulations. However, it is getting less natural when we talk about rivers, forests or trees as legal entities. Or maybe rather opposite?

The Guardian has recently published an article “It’s only natural: the push to give rivers, mountains, and forests legal rights” where author Jane Gleeson-White describes a recent tendency in the Western environmental legal system. “This new approach to environmental law was introduced in the US by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, whose first success came in 2006”, writes Gleeson-White. The discussion about legal rights for the environment and its elements, during last ten years, has exceeded debates within environmental philosophy and anthropology and happened to be a focal point of many social movements.

FSC und Greenpeace sind sich nicht grün

Ich finde, Greenpeace International und der Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) führen einen interessanten Dialog. Warum, werde ich im Folgenden ausführen:

Am 28.3.2018 hat Greenpeace-International seine Mitgliedschaft beim FSC-International auslaufen lassen, wie die Naturschutzorganisation mitteilte. Begründet wurde dieser Schritt mit der sehr ungleichen Umsetzung der FSC-Zertifizierung von Land zu Land und mit dem Versagen der FSC-Zertifizierung beim Schutz der Wälder. Insbesondere in Hoch-Risiko-Ländern leiste der FSC hier nicht genug, so Greenpeace. Die Naturschutzorganisation meint damit Länder, in denen Demokratie und Zivilgesellschaft schwach sind und in denen ein hohes Maß an Korruption herrscht. Greenpeace empfiehlt dennoch weiterhin die FSC-Zertifizierung, solange es sich um “FSC 100%” handelt – und nicht um “FSC-Mix” oder “FSC controlled wood” – und sich die zertifizierten Wälder nicht in Hochrisiko-Regionen befinden. PEFC und andere Zertifikate unterstützt Greenpeace nach wie vor nicht.

Hurricanes and the future of our forests

After Hurricane Maria blast over the Island of Puerto Rico in September 2017, the damage was severe and the aftermath difficult to evaluate. It flooded whole districts and left the island without electrical power for an extensive amount of time. Thousands of acres of Puerto Rico’s forests were damaged, and while it is estimated that 28,000 acres of the National Park El Yunque were destroyed, field research on the ground was still inconclusive. While remote-sensing data – satellite images or laser based measurements – are useful for preliminary results, they cannot replace basic scientific work on the ground.  A recent New York Times article featured a small team of researchers, which took on the task of evaluating Maria’s aftermath in El Yunque and compared ground observations with existing satellite data of the damage. 

Be sure to check out the new SURE project website

The website for the project “SUstaining and Enhancing REsilience of European Forests” – or briefly SURE – is launched. It provides all the important information on the project, upcoming events, as well as material on the RISKplatform, a virtual communication tool for the European Forest Risk community.

If you are interested in experiences from both practice and science on how to best cope with risk and respond to disturbances, if you want to learn about developing and improving response strategies in policymaking and practical management be sure to check out the new website!

Coordinated by European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office and funded by the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture, SURE is aiming at enhancing forest resilience and addressing disturbance related risks as an integral part of sustainable forest management through facilitating networking, learning and capacity building.

 

Marcus Ittermann, LoCom Media (links) und Georg Winkel (EFI Bonn)

Podcast: Resilienz-Forschung zum Wald

Was bedeutet ‘Resilienz’ im Kontext Wald, und was macht das European Forest Institute (EFI) eigentlich in Bonn? Diese und mehr Fragen beantwortete Dr. Georg Winkel, Forstwissenschaftler und Leiter des Bonner EFI-Büros in einem spannenden Interview mit dem Lokalradio. Mit ihm sprach der Journalist Marcus Ittermann, Redakteur bei Locom Media.

Die Hauptaufgaben des EFI bestehen darin, sich mit Forschungsfragen zum Thema Wald zu beschäftigen, Ergebnisse dieser Forschung in kondensierter Form in die Politik zu bringen sowie durch gezielte Kommunikations- und Pressearbeit die Öffentlichkeit auf verständliche Art und Weise mit Informationen zu versorgen. Neben diesen Aufgaben nimmt sich das Bonner Büro verstärkt dem Begriff der Resilienz an. “Unser Standort soll als ‘Resilienz-Zentrale” fungieren”, so Winkel. Im Mittelpunkt steht die Fähigkeit der Wälder, sich an Veränderungen anzupassen. “Dies betrifft Themen wie den Klimawandel genauso wie den Naturschutz”, erklärt der Forstwissenschaftler. Klimatische Umstände haben enorme Effekte auf den (europäischen) Wald.  Veränderte Bedürfnisse der Menschen spielen jedoch auch eine wichtige Rolle. Hier liege einer der Knackpunkte.

No fire without smoke – forest fires deteriorate air quality

Fire is not only a threat to forests and livelihoods in the rural areas. As the forest fire season takes on entirely new dimensions by getting longer and more intense, fire – and smoke related health hazards increase, warned an international study published in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics and reported by PhysOrg.

Burning vegetation releases small particulates, that are dangerous even in small quantities. According to the study, in countries with effective measures to reduce air pollution, wildfire emissions are not causing the average annual levels of small particles to surpass the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended thresholds. However, emissions from fires do increase air pollution severely, which in turn can have grave consequences for human health. According to WHO,  the range of health effects of the small particulates is broad, but are predominantly to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. In principle, the longer the exposure to small particulates is, the more severe the impact on health is.

Tragically, it is estimated that more than 700 000 hectares of land have burned in 2017 alone. The data from European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) points out that the majority of fires were caused by human activities. Additionally dry conditions paved the way for small fires to turn into uncontrollable wildfires. Both conditions, on the bright side, indicate that there is potential for fire prevention.

Currently, air quality policies do not include wildfires and the emissions they cause. Additionally, up until this point there is no widely approved way to manage wildfires. In the light of the late megafires, there is an urgent need to collaborate on the international level to find the best approach to manage and prevent wildfires. For the sake of our forests and our health.

Read the entire news article here.