EFI Bonn’s fire risks expert joins science-media partnership

EFI Bonn’s fire risks senior expert Alexander Held was selected as a mentor for the Climate Change Immersive Story Accelerator Lookout360°, a new 6-month media support programme for journalists and producers who are eager to get started with immersive stories on climate change. The programme is a pilot project of the recently launched science-media initiative The Lookout Station initiated by European Forest Institute and the Global Editors Network.

Together with Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of Guardian News & Media
and Dr. John M. Reilly, Co-Director of MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, and other mentors, Alexander Held will support a group of 10 journalists by providing his expertise in forest fires, silviculture and deer management.

More information on the programme, trainers and mentors here.

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.

Nature conservation and forest managers from NRW exploring the use of Marteloscopes

Representatives from nature conservation organisations, LIFE+ projects, state forest enterprises and forest associations (communal and private forest owners) situated in North Rhine Westphalia visited the Marteloscope Jägerhäuschen. The Marteloscope is located in the Kottenforst area at the Regional Forest District Office Rhein-Sieg-Erft just outside the City of Bonn.

Heute noch bewerben: SDW-WorkCamp Brasilien-Deutschland zu nachhaltiger Waldbewirtschaftung

Auf nach Brasilien und den Wald entdecken! … und die Brasilianerinnen und Brasilianer in unseren Wald einladen!

Im aktuellen Projekt „Internationales WorkCamp – Junge Erwachsene für nachhaltige Waldbewirtschaftung“ der SDW-Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald wird das möglich. Durch direkten Austausch in der Amazonasregion und in Deutschland sollen Wissen zu nachhaltiger Waldbewirtschaftung aufgebaut und in Wald-WorkCamps kreative Bildungsmaterialien entwickelt werden. Die Teams arbeiten interdisziplinär und setzten sich aus jeweils acht jungen Erwachsenen aus Brasilien und Deutschland unterschiedlicher Studiengänge (Forst, Umwelt, Design, Kommunikation, Marketing, Kunst, etc.) zusammen.

Interessierte Studierende aus Deutschland sind eingeladen, sich bis zum 20.11.2017 bei der SDW-Schutzgemeinschaft Deutscher Wald zu bewerben. Die Teilnahme, Reise und Unterkunft für alle Veranstaltungen sind kostenlos.

Weitere Informationen finden Sie hier oder über katharina.schluender@sdw.de. 

Kick-off Workshop of Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture (InForMAr)

The Kick-off workshop of the project Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture (InForMAr) will take place on 7th and 8th of December 2017 in the new premises of European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office.

Altogether around 30 European policy stakeholders and scientists will meet to discuss goals of the InForMAr project. The participants’ task will be to look at relevant questions relating to the integration of nature conservation in Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) through integrated forest management approaches in Europe. This involves e.g. the discussion of forest functions, of socioeconomic driving factors and how they determine the work of practitioners as well as the question of how forest policy can better support the implementation of integrative forest management.
The workshop aim is to build a network of practitioners, scientists and European policy stakeholders interested in the issue of integrated forest management. The result of the discussions of the workshop will be used by the InForMAr researchers and will be examined for the next stage of the project.
The keynote speakers incude: Yoan Paillet (IRSTEA), Lena Gustafsson (SLU), Metodi Sotirov (University of Freiburg), Susanne Winter (WWF Deutschland), Peter Löffler (DG Environment), Eckart Senitza (Pro Silva Europe), Robert Flies (Luxembourg Private Forest Owners).
Keynote speeches will be followed by group discussions focusing on driving forces for integrated forest management. During the event the movie, “Wise use of our forests: the integrative approach” produced by InForMAr researcher Andreas Schuck will be screened.

The InForMAr Project is funded and supported by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture and follows the projects Integrate and Integrate+.

Marteloscope training exercise with students from Bern University of Applied Sciences

A Marteloscope training exercise took place on the 25th of October 2017 in the Sihlwald Marteloscope in Switzerland which is managed by the Wildnispark Zürich.

The course was organised for 20 students from the Bern University of Applied Sciences – School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL). A central aim set by Thibault Lachat (HAFL), Andreas Schuck (EFI) and Frank Krumm (WSL) was to ensure that students learn to make educated decisions by taking into account numerous aspects when managing forest stands. In particular, the workshop focused on how to ensure maintaining biological diversity in managed forests – and dealt with the question of what the gains are and where to make the trade-offs .

First Exchange of Experts of SURE project in Czech Republic – a cooperative learning experience

In Europe, there are almost as many ways to manage forests as there are forest owners. However, many of the challenges they face are the same: how to manage wildlife, how to prevent storm damage and how to ensure successful regeneration in the changing climate, to name just a few. To find the best management practice can be a challenge. One of the most efficient ways to overcome this struggle is to talk to and learn from someone, who has faced a similar problem. European Forest Institute (EFI) and Czech Republic brought together practitioners from different parts of Europe to learn from each other’s experiences in the framework of the SURE (SUstaining and Enhancing REsilience of European Forest) project, coordinated by the EFI Bonn office.

Pro Silva Bohemica and the FRISK (European Forest Risk Facility) secretariat at EFI Bonn office organized an Exchange of Experts to Czech Republic in October 2017, where participants from forest services, wildlife management associations and communal forest owners’ association from different parts of Germany, Austria, Ireland and Czech Republic could meet and learn from one another.

The programme included a vast amount of topics. Participants discussed large scale disturbances and forest die-back, practising close-to-nature forestry and transitioning from monoculture to continuous cover forestry as well as the impact of wildlife on forest management. Risk reduction, resilience and mitigating climate change were also reviewed.

Of different challenges that forest managers face, the deer impact on tree regeneration was one of the most prominent one in Czech. Many tree species, especially Silver fir (Abies alba), need long time protection from deer. As protection of seedlings and older trees is costly, there is an interest to establish a better game management plan. One option is to develop an integrated wildlife management plan that could be implemented with the support of EFI.

The Exchange of Experts is part of the SURE project activities.  See the full report here.

What contribution can the private sector make to climate protection? COP23 side-event

On the occasion of the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference, Senat der Wirtschaft, together with the European Forest Institute (EFI) and Forest Finest, will hold a panel discussion on the commitment of the business sector to climate protection on 14 November 2017, 4-6pm.

The discussion on What contribution can the private sector make to climate protection and how can such projects be implemented in practice? will take place in the Bundeshaus, Platz der Vereinten Nationen 7, 53113 Bonn (opposite the Marriott Hotel) in the conference room on the 1st floor.

On the panel we present:

  • Prof. Dr. Dr. Franz-Josef Radermacher (Member Club of Rome, President Senat der Wirtschaft)
  • Dr. Lukas Giessen (European Forest Institute)
  • Dr. Symphorien Ongolo (Universität Göttingen)
  • Dirk Walterspacher (Forest Finest)
  • Anna Rösinger (WeForest)

Host will be Dr. Christoph Brüssel (Senat der Wirtschaft).

Tackling wildfires in Mediterranean forests

Catastrophic forest fires claimed lives this summer across the world, from California to Portugal and Spain. The Mediterranean basin is a global wildfire hotspot and the threat of wildfires to forests and society is expected to increase with climate change.

Scientists from the European Forest Institute (EFI) urge a shift in focus on how we tackle this problem, moving beyond the current emphasis on fire suppression. They argue that the bio-economy offers means to activate management and to demonstrate that forests are a valuable resource, as a smart and sustainable strategy to address the problem of wildfires.

In a new paper published in Forest Policy and Economics, the researchers consider the opportunities offered by a forest-based bio-economy alongside an improved recognition of the value of forests. They suggest a strategic policy shift in favour of fire prevention as part of an integrated forest management strategy, while calling for a shift in mind-set for society to recognise the various ways in which forests provide value.

A comprehensive guide to risk and crisis management

For those, who are interested in practical approaches to risk and crisis management – check out these publications (in German):

The Swiss federal institute for forest, snow and landscape (WSL) is providing a comprehensive collection of its publications, which provides information on risk and crisis management in forestry – Merkblatt für die Praxis. The papers are condensed versions of the institute’s research findings and translated into sets of practical guidelines. They are of interest to practitioners, to forest and environmental delegates as well as to lay persons.