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Category: research

The challenge of managing forests for multiple ecosystem services in a changing world

On 26-28 February 2020, about 200 scientists – forest ecologists, economists, policy analysts and conservationists – as well as interested stakeholders, students and practitioners from Europe and beyond gathered together at the Ceasar Research Centre in Bonn, Germany, to discuss scientific evidence relating to the current state of ‘integrated’ forest management approaches across the globe. Here’s my attempt of a short reportage of three very dense – but extremely interesting – days in the European Forest City 2020. 

Whether you are a regular reader of the Resilience blog or you ended up here by clicking a link in social media, one thing is clear: you are interested in forests. And you are interested to know how forests can be managed in an optimal way, so they provide not only wood but many ecosystem services (for example clean water, recreation, habitat, protection) to our busy society. Well, unfortunately there is not a universal recipe for this. Ecological conditions of forests as well as their governance, policies, and human societies surrounding them are very different across the globe. On top of that, our world is changing with a pace that is faster than the ability of forests to adapt to novel conditions. This demands us to bring together ideas for ‘integrated’ forest management solutions to face major global challenges. This was the reason why the European Forest Institute (EFI) in collaboration with several other research institutions and projects  organised the conference Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services across the globe”.

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Wer ist schuld am Waldsterben?! Eine deutsche Debatte

Der derzeitige Zustand der Wälder in Deutschland wird hitzig in den Medien diskutiert, besonders in 2019, da Waldschäden erstmals großflächig auch für das ungeübte Auge sichtbar wurden. Die Debatte scheint dabei zu einem Schauplatz des verhärteten Konflikts von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft zu werden, den wir schon seit Jahrzehnten immer wieder in den Medien beobachten. Tippt man die Begriffe „Waldschäden“ oder „Wald im Klimawandel“ in eine Suchmaschine ein, wird man überschüttet mit zahllosen Artikeln, Kommentaren, Positionspapieren und Blogeinträgen verschiedener Einzelpersonen und Institutionen. Um die Struktur der Debatte und die Argumentation der unterschiedlichen Positionen zu verstehen, habe ich einen genaueren Blick auf den medialen Diskurs geworfen. Hierbei habe ich vor allem die Erzählstränge von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft, die Herleitung ihres Standpunktes und die jeweilige Rhetorik untersucht. Um die Fülle an Publikationen zu diesem Thema zu bewältigen, habe ich repräsentative Akteure von Naturschutz und Forstwirtschaft ausgewählt und ihre Onlinepräsenz und Publikationen untersucht. Natürlich handelt es sich bei den Ergebnissen um eine Verallgemeinerung, die nicht jedem einzelnen Akteur gerecht zu werden vermag. Dennoch zeigte sich ein interessantes Muster des Diskurses. 

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Bitten by the same bug – German spruce in jeopardy

“Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom” (ScienceDaily, 2019), “French forests scarred as heatwaves bring bark beetle infestation” (Euronews, 2019a), “Czech forest owners face $1.7 billion loss this year from bark beetle crisis” (Euronews, 2019b) and finally “Merkel promises €500m to revitalise German forests” (Guardian, 2019) – these were only some of the many forest-related headlines in European news in the past months.

It is obvious: How weather affects our forests, would not have made it to the news ten years ago – but following the unprecedented hot temperatures, long dry spells as well as severe storm events in Central Europe, everybody was talking about the state of our forests. These extreme weather events are a not only a huge burden for human health but also for entire natural ecosystems. In Germany, extreme temperatures contributed to the extremely dire state of about 180,000 ha of forested area and taxpayer support of 800 million Euros for reforestation measures (FAZ, 2019). In the past, evolution gave flora and fauna the opportunity to adapt to changing environmental conditions and climates but the pace and scale of climatic changes that we experience today, give our natural world a mountain to climb, regardless of the money thrown at the problem.

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EFI Bonn looking for a PhD Researcher on Perceptions of Wildfire Risks

The European Forest Institute (EFI) is now looking for a PhD Researcher on understanding perceptions of wildfire risks and related land management at its Bonn, Germany, office.

Deadline for the application is 16 December 2019 COB.

The objectives of the research are:
• To analyse perceptions of fire risk and related concepts of fire (risk) management in different regional and sectoral contexts across Europe amongst a) fire and land management experts, b) land owners and managers in different regional settings;
• To enhance learning and generate transferable knowledge on risk and its management through interconnecting experts across regional contexts.

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Where is Japanese forest policy going?

What role does forest policy play in Japan? Why did the Japanese government implement a forest environment transfer tax scheme in 2019? Who is affected by this new approach to forest management? And how are the reactions from different Japanese prefectures?

On Wednesday, 13 November 2019, 12am, Professor Ryo Kohsaka from Nagoya University will introduce us to the new Japanese national forest environment transfer tax and management system. The presentation will take place at European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 6, 53113 Bonn.

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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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When school becomes holiday – Exploring forest resilience from all the angles

It’s funny how one starts to miss the things they previously would have been glad to give up. In my case, I realized I have missed sitting in lecture rooms. That is why I was so eager to participate the summer school “Forest Resilience” organized by the SwissForestLab, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) and NFZ.forestnet. The school took place in Davos, Switzerland from 18th to 24th of August. There were 20 students from 10 different countries and diverse backgrounds.

Resilience is a complex, multiscalar and interdisciplinary issue. It touches topics from tree growth to disturbance regimes, from human behaviour to economics and insurances. The summer school had made considerable effort to fit these different perspectives into a packed but mind-grabbing programme. We started with lectures on the social and economic aspects of resilience. As many of us had more natural sciences background, there was a lot of new information to chew on.

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Resilience: one-off vs continuous disturbance

In an effort to foster a definition of resilience in the forestry field, we decided to establish a series of interviews introducing scientists who deal with this term every day. Today meet Elena Cantarello. She is a lecturer in sustainability science and conducts research on the dynamics and thresholds of ecosystem services at Bournemouth University, e.g. by measuring the resilience of forests in terms of recovery, resistance and net change after climate change, disease outbreak and extensive animal grazing.

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Green jobs: different names, same thing? Perspectives from half-year reflection of the project’s milestones

The change to a greener economy offers important opportunities to create decent jobs and create social inclusion, besides leading the global economy to a path of sustainable growth…These changes give an opportunity to change all the shortcomings in the forest sector.

(Forest Europe, 2014)

Written by Juliet Achieng

The mention of green jobs elicits different reactions among people. For some, it is the hope of better tidings for the forest sector, for others it’s just a fancy term that has no clear meaning while for others it just brings more confusion and questions than answers. But who will shed light on this buzz word? The Green Jobs project brings together three international organizations (European Forest Institute, International Union of Forest Research Organizations and International Forestry Students Association) with research and networking prowess to attempt to give answers to this puzzle. We also aim to shed light on the changes in employment that have been happening as well as the drivers of these changes in different regions and what trends could be anticipated in the future with regards to employment in the sector. Skills and competencies needed for future employment are also a vital component of our project. Through a clearly defined research approach, consisting of a literature review, workshop, survey and rapid employers’ interviews, we aim to adequately tackle these topics and provide a more elaborate picture. 

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EFI as chartered member of PyroLife

Deadly wildfires in the past two years and the heatwave we are facing throughout in Europe this year are a glimpse of what to expect in the future. Therefore, the European Union has granted 4 million Euro for PyroLife, a project in which framework a new generation of experts will be trained in integrated fire management. We are happy to announce that we will take part in the newly established project.

PyroLife is the first integrated doctoral training programme on wildfires globally and will train 15 PhD candidates across Europe, coordinated by Wageningen University & Research.

Within this project, the European Forest Institute will supervise one PhD student and further offers various fire related trainings through the SURE project.

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