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Category: Publication

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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Why a forest cannot be private – anthropological observations in the forest

Forests are much more than trees. At EFI we think about forests as nets of connected socio-ecological systems. To have a broader picture of these networks and to understand them better it is worth sometimes to look beyond trees and pay more attention to the people in and around the forests. Anthropologists are quite useful for this task, especially because they are those who ask: Why does the forest matter?  

As an anthropologist myself, I have been guided by this question during the fieldwork and research on the perception of forests and forestry in Poland. I was interested in who is negotiating the meaning of Polish forests, and when, how and why this is taking place. By studying these negotiations one can understand better the different beliefs, values, rationales and worldviews related to forests. And it becomes clearer how these are impacting approaches to forest management and nature conservation. In my work, I have been particularly interested in examining a juxtaposition of a category of forest (level of policies and politics) and a material forest (an element of the landscape). This allowed me to use the forest for a reflection on more compounded changes within Polish society.  

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Mehr Holzzuwachs der europäischen Wälder wird abgeschöpft – aber wirklich so viel?

Autoren: Marcus Lindner und Jürgen Bauhus 

In dem frisch publizierten Nature Artikel unter Leitung von Guido Ceccherini „Abrupt increase in harvested forest area over Europe after 2015” (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2438-y) werden Waldverluste aus Satellitenbild-Auswertungen berechnet und dabei kommen die Autoren auf erstaunliche Werte von um fast 50% erhöhte Ernteflächen sowie um sogar 69% erhöhte Holzvolumenentnahmen in den Jahren 2016-2018 verglichen mit dem Zeitraum 2011-2015. Es wird diskutiert, dass eine auf verstärkte Bioökonomie-Entwicklung orientierte Waldpolitik zu diesem drastischen Anstieg in der Nutzungsintensität geführt hat und dadurch das Erreichen von Klimaschutzzielen in Frage gestellt wird.

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Downloading Europe: A Regional Comparison in the Uptake of the EU Forest Action Plan

The first EU Forest Strategy was adopted in 1998 to provide general guidelines for an EU forest policy designed to coordinate other EU forest-relevant policies. The implementation of the first strategy was done under the auspices of the EU Forest Action Plan, covering the period from 2007 to 2011. The Forest Action Plan was a tool that facilitated voluntary cooperation between EU Member States (no enforcement capabilities), with some coordinating actions being implemented by the European Commission.

The paper “Downloading Europe: A Regional Comparison in the Uptake of the EU Forest Action Plan”, published in the journal Sustainability, returns to the EU Forest Action Plan to provide further insight into how it translated into an EU Member State context. Most articles concerned with the analysis of forest-relevant policies in the EU focus on analyzing EU decision-making impacts on a national level, or vice versa, but not how Member States embrace EU strategies from a comparative perspective. This paper addresses this empirical gap and provides insight into whether Europeanization effects are comparable, irrespective of whether EU Member States are deciding upon and implementing a legally binding or non-legally binding EU policy instrument.

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Can nature conservation and wood production be reconciled in managed forests?

Integrated forest management (IFM) can help reconcile critical trade-offs between goals in forest management, such as nature conservation and biomass production. The challenge of IFM is dealing with these trade-offs at the level of practical forest management, such as striving for compromises between biomass extraction and habitat retention. With this background in mind, the paper “Can nature conservation and wood production be reconciled in managed forests? A review of driving factors for integrated forest management in Europe”, which is published in the Journal of Environmental Management, reviews some of the driving factors that influence the integration of nature conservation into forest management.

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EU forests after Brexit – future scenarios from four years ago

Before the Brexit referendum four years ago, when much of the media buzz revolved around the uncertain future of trade, immigration and stock markets, at the European Forest Institute we discussed its potential impact on forests and forest-related policy.

Even though there is no EU forest policy, there are a number of other policy instruments that directly or indirectly affect forests and their management. These range from the EU Timber Regulation or the EU Birds and Habitats Directives over the FLEGT and REDD programmes to the Common Agriculture Policy, all of which could be impacted by a possible Brexit.

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Forest Governance: How to orientate in the labyrinth of international forest policies?

By Lukas Giessen and Carmen Rodríguez

In this Blogpost Lukas Giessen and Carmen Rodríguez, both EFI staff, provide us with an insight into a recently published article on the numerous elements of international forest-related policy. The paper indicates that the many policies addressing forests in a way or another are fragmented and often conflict with one another, possibly leading to unsuccessful forest protection efforts of many governments around the globe. But this fragmentation is also found to hold promise for actors in finding allies to their own missions.

Because it is quite tricky to identify the actually relevant elements of a fragmented set of international policies, we developed a new method for mapping the entire governance architecture of international forest policy, using the United Nations Forum on Forests’ (UNFF) deliberations as key reference.

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What can we learn from science about Białowieża

On 15 May, Malgorzata Blicharska (Uppsala University) presented the findings of the Białowieża Science Initiative in the Permanent Representation of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia to the European Union in Brussels. EFI researchers, together with other representatives from academia, policy, forestry, nature conservation agencies and media debated on how to use the lesson learnt from the Białowieża Forest for other areas in Europe facing similar challenges.

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Deadwood management in production forests

Written by Lucie Vítková

“Deadwood has a major role for the conservation of saproxylic species and contributes to carbon sequestration, nutrient supply, natural regeneration and protection against falling rocks.” (Lachat et al., 2013:92)*

A substantial amount of literature on the importance of deadwood in Central European forests has been available providing partial recommendations to enhance deadwood-dependent biodiversity. However, a comprehensive review of science- and forestry experts-based recommendations effectively enhancing deadwood bearing in mind operational implications has not been presented in international literature.

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