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Unlocking the secrets of forests as carbon sinks: innovative tools to measure forests’ climate mitigation potential

How can we maximise the carbon stocks and carbon sequestration potential of forests – by managing or not managing them? And how can carbon Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) be made effective and affordable as part of the proposed EU Carbon Removal Certification Framework regulation?

Sofie Van Winckel and Arne Van Wolputte, researchers at KU Leuven, are on a journey to answer these questions using various high-tech tools, including the Arboreal App, an iPad with LIDAR and a computer model based on satellite and field data. Read on and join them in uncovering the secrets of climate mitigation in the INFORMA project’s case studies!

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In praise of contrarian thinking

By Sven Wunder, Douglas Sheil & Robert Nasi

Diverging forecasts and climate science

A Danish proverb says: “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future”. More so in a world that seems more uncertain than ever, and where we cannot always rely on the past to infer changes into the future. But how do we societally deal with the inevitable diversity of views about the world’s future? Are we making the best of available intellectual capital to benefit humanity? Or are we, in the name of popular convenience, underutilizing the power of critical reflection and innovative contrarian ideas? Do we need more alternative perspectives to challenge negligent mainstream thinking? These are fundamental questions in addressing major societal crises from global economic imbalances to biodiversity loss, climate change and the approaching tipping points in planetary-wide mechanisms.

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Nordic Forest Policy – a journey through two centuries

This is a contribution from guest authors: Alexia Fridén1, Dalia D’Amato2,3, Hanna Ekström1, Bogomil Iliev4, Akonwi Nebsifu2, Wilhelm May1,Marianne Thomsen4, Nils Droste1.

1 Lund University, Sweden, 2 University of Helsinki, Finland, 3 Finnish Environment Institute, Finland, 4 Copenhagen University, Denmark

Forest ecosystems play a crucial role in providing economic, ecological, and social values, both nationally and internationally. This significance is particularly evident in the forest-rich countries of the Nordics such as Sweden and Finland, where a long history of forest policies unfolds, intertwined with national (and more recently, international) macro-trends such as war, economic boom, and globalization.

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EFI hits the road – a “Busman’s Holiday” around British Columbia’s beleaguered forests

Anyone who works as a researcher with an environmental or forestry organisation like EFI will tell you that there’s no such thing as a “proper” holiday; indeed, sitting on the beach for 2 weeks sounds to me like the very epitome of sensory deprivation (and that’s even despite having a dodgy knee). By contrast, the idea of a road trip around British Columbia (BC) with my family this summer sounded like a veritable voyage of discovery. So, it was with enthusiasm (and a degree of trepidation) that we boarded a flight from Frankfurt bound for Vancouver with the aim of exploring parts of the Pacific NW in a campervan. Without a doubt, BC’s diverse forests would certainly influence a large part in our travel itinerary; both in positive and negative ways, as it turned out. There was much to learn on our journey. 

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Fuelling the Forest Fire Policy – From the groundwork to an international audience

It cannot be stressed enough: More than 100 participants from 22 countries gathered in the Polish forest to attend the SNEP (Association of Independent Firefighting…

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The invisible workforce: seasonal migration in the forest sector 

They help farmers to pick asparagus and support foresters with salvage-cutting bark-beetle damaged trees: The EU – and especially countries like Spain, Poland and Germany – is heavily dependent on so called “seasonal migrants”, either from other EU Member States or third world countries. Bringing the issue closer to home, Germany receives around 300,000 workers per year for agricultural, horticultural and forestry work, many of them from Central and Eastern Europe, especially Poland and Romania. Very often, they remain invisible. We asked ourselves, how many of these workers can we specifically find in the forest sector? What roles do they play and how can these be distinguished from the agricultural sector? How are the working conditions? And what can we do to make this issue more visible?  

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Talking through research landscapes

Reflections on inter-generational interactions in science and the potential of young scientists 

Imagine you are sitting in a room full of people for three days. Listening to a lot of presentations which do not necessarily light up your interests. You make the effort to resist the temptation of checking your mailbox. Feeling guilty for seeing work accumulating, knowing you will have to address part of it at night, alone in your hotel room. Eventually, you will be presenting your work and – if you are lucky – have an awesome 20 minutes of lit discussion and feedback. But after that, you will rely on coffee again to fight back the gravity attacking your eyelids, especially in the post-lunch sessions. You will be looking forward for the drinks at the end of the day to socialize a bit and get to know people. 

In my short, young scientist’s experience, that’s how I’ve portraited – and experienced – scientific conferences. 

A (much needed) alternative 

Well, the latest conference I attended was absolutely nothing of the above. 

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Communicating during an extreme wildfire: a first-hand experience

Written by Isabeau Ottolini

Isabeau Ottolini is an Early-Stage Researcher within the European ITN project PyroLife, and visiting scholar at EFI Bonn. She researches community-based wildfire communication, specifically through a case study in Spain with the local association Pego Viu. 

Intro

Most communication around wildfires happens in the prevention and preparedness phase. That is, before a potential wildfire happens with the aim to reduce wildfire risk. However, sometimes the need emerges to communicate during a wildfire, and that’s a whole different game.

In this blogpost, I share the story of the Vall d’Ebo (Spain) wildfire that happened this August, and what the local association Pego Viu and I learnt from communicating during this extreme wildfire.

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A decision guide for choosing the right connectivity tools

If you are confused and intimidated by the sheer number of tools to analyze connectivity related questions, don’t worry. We feel you.

We’ve all been there – we have an interesting research question, we collected data, but we come to a screeching halt when we are faced with the numerous tools in the field of connectivity science. Every paper we read points us in a different direction, and at the end we are left wondering which one we should use and why.

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The city of contrasts: Learning about forests and trees in Industriewald and Rheinelbepark in Gelsenkirchen

Establishing the first marteloscope in an Urban Forest and discovering the transition of Gelsenkirchen

How do marteloscopes – these forest demonstration sites, where all trees are mapped and measured – and Gelsenkirchen, a city located in the so-called Ruhrpott fit together? You might be surprised that after being known as the “City of Thousand Fires” characterised by the coal, iron, and steel industry, and being a target of several air raids during World War II, Gelsenkirchen went through different economic and social changes. To boost its attractiveness for citizens, the city is now “shaping” its sustainability, investing in solar energy and converting numerous former mining sites into small city parks and urban forests [1]. The city of Gelsenkirchen is also a partner in the CLEARINGHOUSE project, which connects China and Europe and explores the potential of Urban Forests for more liveable cities. And as part of this big international project, we – four researchers from European Forest Institute’s Bonn Office – established two new marteloscopes in the Urban Forest in Gelsenkirchen. This was not only an interesting experience because they were the first marteloscope sites we set up in urban forests, but also because of the vegetation and the fact, that these forests are not used for wood production.

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