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Category: Resilience

Forest landscapes as functional networks: Novel approaches to manage for resilience

Article by Marco Mina

Some time ago we discussed how viewing and analyzing forest landscapes as functional complex networks could be a promising approach to increase ecological resilience to global uncertainty. Now, two new studies show how this could be applied in differently structured landscapes.

Our blue marble planet is one single interconnected organism. From plants to pollinators, preys to predators, climate to primary production, Earth’s natural ecosystems have evolved for million years to build complex and balanced interactions. Forest landscapes are also complex ecological networks, which can be depicted in many ways depending on the scale of observation. For example, if we take a look at a satellite image of a rural area (e.g., an administrative region in Germany or in southern Canada), we will immediately recognize patches of forests fragmented by agricultural crops, roads, powerlines or human settlements. In other areas, forest might cover a larger proportion of the land, resulting in a more continuous matrix. In both cases, a series of interconnected relation exists among tree species, stands, and forest patches allowing the maintenance of vital functions of such ecological system.

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Ein anderer Blick auf das „Waldbrand Klima Resilienz“-Projekt

Video und Text: Rosa Castañeda

Um die Ziele des Projekts „Waldbrand Klima Resilienz“ in einem Video wiederzugeben, war es wichtig für mich die WKR Projektaktivitäten hautnah zu erleben. Darum nahm ich an der Pressekonferenz in Bruchsal und an einem Feuerwehrtraining in Munster teil und habe mir das Ziel gesetzt, das Thema „Waldbrand“, das eine große Medienpräsenz hat, mit einer anderen Perspektive zu behandeln. Ein umfassendes Waldbrandmanagement bedeutet eben nicht nur Brände zu bekämpfen, sondern auch Prävention und Waldumbau als wichtige Elemente miteinzubeziehen.

Das Video bringt den Zuschauern das Projekt „Waldbrand Klima Resilienz“ nahe. Es zeigt das WKR-Team und die im Projekt beteiligten vielfältigen Akteure, wie Forst, Feuerwehr, Politik und Waldeigentümer, die ihre Erfahrungen miteinander teilen und für ein ganzheitliches Waldbrandmanagement zusammenarbeiten.

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Locally adapted integrated forest management concepts – a ‘Tour d’Europe’

Faced with biodiversity loss, climate impacts, and changes in societal demands, forest owners and managers across Europe have started to use integrated forest management to address the trade-offs between multiple uses of forest ecosystems. Integrated forest management is a highly dynamic, multi-functional management approach with as many different strategies for implementation as there are different forest ecosystems in Europe. This flexibility was showcased in the final conference of the oForest project: “How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – a view across Europe” organized by the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research (WSL) as well as European Forest Institute (EFI) and supported by the Swiss Federal Institute for the Environment (BAFU), the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, and the Canton of Basel. The conference, held on November 9th-11th, 2020 as an online webinar, was named after the title of the upcoming oForest book publication, which compiles expertise of integrated forest management from over 150 authors. 

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Investigating potential future climate, disturbance and forest management effects

How can we increase the resilience of our forest to be better prepared for future natural disturbances and climate change, while maintaining a high level of wood production, carbon storage, and habitat quality for biodiversity? The project Innovative forest management strategies for a resilient bioeconomy under climate change and disturbances (I-MAESTRO) aims at improving the scientific basis for developing adequate forest management strategies. In an interview series, we are introducing the different I-MAESTRO partners and their roles in the project – and we are sharing very personal perspectives from different researchers involved. We are now introducing Mats Mahnken, PhD researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

What is PIK contributing to I-Maestro?

PIK is involved in I-Maestro with tasks regarding forest modelling and simulation of forest dynamics taking into account environmental change effects and forest management. It is using the forest model 4C (‘FORESEE’ – Forest Ecosystems in a Changing Environment) at different spatial scales and will also be involved in work dealing with data for model comparisons and data for calibration. Thus, we are applying the expertise of the working group on Forest and Ecosystem Resilience at PIK from prior projects that focused on modelling shifts in temperature and precipitation and possible adaptive forest management on European forests as well as projects on model comparison and data harmonization.

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“We develop long-term management strategies to maximise ecosystem services against forest disturbances”

How can we increase the resilience of our forest to be better prepared for future natural disturbances and climate change, while maintaining a high level of wood production, carbon storage, and habitat quality for biodiversity? The project Innovative forest management strategies for a resilient bioeconomy under climate change and disturbances (I-MAESTRO) aims at improving the scientific basis for developing adequate forest management strategies. In an interview series, we are introducing the different I-MAESTRO partners and their roles in the project – and we are sharing very personal perspectives from different researchers involved. Our third interviewee is Raphaël Aussenac, Postdoc researcher at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (INRAE).

What is INRAE contributing to I-Maestro?

First of all, INRAE coordinates the project. As part of this responsibility, INRAE ensures that teams working on practical and empirical aspects and those modelling forest dynamics work tuned. We seek to better understand the relationship between the complexity of stand structure and the provision of ecosystem services while integrating the effects of natural disturbances and climate change. In particular, we participate in the modelling of forest dynamics and in the analysis of the simulations. By addressing our research question with several European partners with different approaches we hope to offer more comprehensive answers.

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“Our results contribute to a better understanding of many forest disturbance processes”

How can we increase the resilience of our forest to be better prepared for future natural disturbances and climate change, while maintaining a high level of wood production, carbon storage, and habitat quality for biodiversity? The project Innovative forest management strategies for a resilient bioeconomy under climate change and disturbances (I-MAESTRO) aims at improving the scientific basis for developing adequate forest management strategies. In an interview series, we are introducing the different I-MAESTRO partners and their roles in the project – and we are sharing very personal perspectives from different researchers involved. The series continues with Luiza Tymińska-Czabańska and Ewa Grabska from University of Krakow.

What is University of Krakow (UAK) contributing to I-Maestro?

Luiza&Ewa: Our team at UAK includes researchers with various expertise and skills such as forestry, remote sensing, data science, statistics, and geography. With scientists covering such a complex background, we are able to develop approaches to analyze issues such as modeling of different forest properties, monitoring of disturbances, classification of tree species and their age, site index prediction, or biomass estimation and its changes over time. Furthermore, we collected a comprehensive database on forest characteristics and data about forest disturbances for the whole area of Poland, and additionally, environmental variables – climatic, topographic, geological, and soils. Access to such an exhaustive database enables modeling the impact of various factors on forest processes in temperate zones.

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From the past winds to future storms – updating the Database of Forest Disturbances in Europe

What if we had a database covering all forest disturbances in Europe over the past 170 years? Would we be able to identify patterns of old disturbance regimes, analyse how they have changed over the years with forest management and climate change, and make predictions on how the future disturbances will look like? Could we be better prepared for what is to come?

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Bridging the gap between the world(s) of research, practitioners and policy-makers

How can we increase the resilience of our forest to be better prepared for future natural disturbances and climate change, while maintaining a high level of wood production, carbon storage, and habitat quality for biodiversity? The project Innovative forest management strategies for a resilient bioeconomy under climate change and disturbances (I-MAESTRO) aims at improving the scientific basis for developing adequate forest management strategies. In an interview series, we are introducing the different I-MAESTRO partners and their roles in the project – and we are sharing very personal perspectives from different researchers involved. The series starts with Matteo Cerioni from University of Ljubljana.

What is the University of Ljubljana (LU) contributing to I-Maestro?
The main contribution of LU is improving information on disturbances and the knowledge on recovery processes following them. More specifically, we are contributing to the update of a European database on forest disturbances and carrying out empirical studies on regeneration dynamics after large disturbances. This involves both collecting new field data (e.g. Slovenian forests subjected to ice storm and following bark beetle; Bulgarian beech forest reserve subjected to wildfire) and gathering and analyzing existing data from other European research groups interested in collaborating. These empirical studies will also serve the models, testing their ability to reproduce recovery processes. Furthermore, we are involved in developing metrics to assess the forest structural complexity resulting from different model simulations. It is considered a key features of forest resilience and includes tree spatial arrangement, size diversity and biodiversity. Finally, we will be involved in the dissemination of results among interested stakeholders.

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One forest does not fit all: Biodiversity conservation in integrated and segregated forest areas

Whether it be a huge European bison or an obscure saproxylic beetle, all forest species have specific and unique requirements for conservation. While some may thrive in wood production forests with integrated conservation strategies, others may require segregated forests with little or no intervention. It is clear that the choice between an integrated or segregated conservation strategy is not black-and-white and an agreement must be made that places importance on both.  But the question is where and how should segregation be integrated into forest management? And what roles do forest managers and owners have in this task? 

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