forest fire in Sweden

“HELP! Our forests are burning!” – “But what kind of help do you need?”

The heatwave across central and northern Europe is preparing the ground for a severe wildfire season. Normally mostly green vegetation is turning into “fuel” in countries normally not affected by serious fire problems. Hereby I am referring to countries not prepared for a wildfire season (compared to the Mediterranean areas, who are dealing with frequent forest fires), despite the climate change scenarios and increasing risks and disturbance predictions.

We have reported here on this blog about the fire situation and early warning systems in the UK, Ireland, and Germany already. Now Scandinavia is receiving a lot of media attention. Sweden for instance is calling for international assistance:

Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle as Sweden calls for help. Sweden worst hit as hot, dry summer sparks unusual number of fires, with at least 11 in the far north” (source: The Guardian) or

“Swedish firefighters were still battling 49 different wildfires across the country on Thursday afternoon, and in some areas residents have been asked to leave for their safety. Here’s where evacuations have taken place.” (source: The Local)

 

As we can see from this and most other media articles, reports focus on the weather, the heat and fires and smoke and on helicopters as well as water-bombing aircraft. And that is what you need in a out-of-control fire situation: Hit the fire fast and hard. And for that you need resources like planes, absolutely.

However, what I do miss in most news articles is the fact that the crisis management cycle has more phases than just the response. Is that single focused reporting maybe a reason for the political ignorance of urgent needs for prevention and mitigation?

Opportunity to join our team in Bonn

EFI Bonn office window view
The windows of EFI Bonn offices overlook the river Rhein. Credit: H.Kruse/EFI

Since last year, when European Forest Institute’s office was set up in Bonn, the team has been growing fast. From just two scientists, it has now reached a number of 21 people, all passionate about forests.

One of the latest additions to the team were Ewa and Michele from the EUFORGEN Secretariat, who moved to Bonn from Rome in June. You can read more about them here and why they moved here.

Our Office Manager Heike Kruse has decided to only work part-time as of October, so we are looking for an addition to our team.

That could be you.

Fire News from European Media

Here we would like to provide you with recent updates:

Ireland
After responding to 50 wildfires over the past two weeks, Collite urged the public not to engage in “fire tourism” as forest and gorse fires continue to rage across the country amid hot, dry conditions. https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/coillte-warns-public-against-fire-tourism-1.3556266

France
The president of a protection association overseeing a natural area near Villers-lès-Nancy lamented the destruction done to birds’ nesting grounds by an 8-hectare wildfire which roared through the area several days ago. https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/grand-est/meurthe-et-moselle/nancy/espace-naturel-sensible-incendie-villers-nancy-1507109.html

Wildfeuer auf kontaminierten Flächen

Hier ein Update zu einem erneuten Brand auf ehemaligem Militärgelände (Quelle: Spiegel online) und meine Kommentare dazu.

In Deutschland, vor allem im Osten, gibt es tausende Hektar aktive oder ehemalige Truppenübungsplätze. Naturschutzfachlich sind diese Flächen auf Grund der ehemaligen militärischen Störung äußerst wertvoll und zumeist auch NATURA 2000- Flächen. Leider sind die militärischen Hinterlassenschaften (UXO Unexploded Ordnace) nicht so wertvoll, sondern gefährden Umwelt, Boden, Grundwasser und im Falle von Wildfeuern auch die Einsatzkräfte.

Zwei Fragen stellen sich: Wie können wir den Offenland-Charackter dieser Natura 2000 Flächen erhalten und gleichzeitig die Sicherheit der Einsatzkräfte im Brandfall erhöhen?

It’s not too late to ensure your spot in Sardinia!

There is still time to submit an abstract to present at this year’s two satellite events during the European Forest Institute annual conference taking place in September on the second biggest island of Italy – Sardinia.

Both events touch upon the aspect of biodiversity at the level of genes. In fact, a rich genetic diversity of forest trees is like a resilience insurance: in the face of a climate change and pests and diseases, some trees will have genes that are resistant to these disturbances, thusenabling the forest to recover after some time.

However, the two scientific seminars go beyond resilience and genetic diversity.

How to implement risk management in future forestry? A conference trip to Solsona, Spain

On 6th of June 2018, EFI Bonn’s principal scientist Marcus Lindner and I, Junior researcher Laura Nikinmaa escaped tropical Germany to cool down in the Mediterranean Solsona, Spain, and to participate in the conference “COMMUNICATING RISKS IN Decision Support Systems: from basic research to advanced decision support tools” with 30 other researchers. Hosted by the Forest Science Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), the conference was organized by the SuFoRun project and IUFRO’s Risk Analysis working group 4.04.07. The program provided plenty diverse presentations ranging from using real option analysis to deal with uncertainties to effects of bark stripping on wind resistance of Norway spruce.

Unusual Record: UK burnt area largest in Europe – so far

Thanks to the careful observation of colleagues at Universidade de Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD) we are able to report an unusual “record”: As of 11 June 2018, the largest burnt forest area in this year so far in Europe can be found in the United Kingdom. We are looking at 8049 ha of burnt area  that is more than the combined burnt area of Spain, Portugal, France and Italy together.

Wald mit Wild – aber zukunftsfähig!

ANW Pressemitteilung

– Beispielsbetriebe erklären ihren Weg –

Wald und seine vielfältigen Funktionen für die Gesellschaft sind durch den Klimawandel stark betroffen und mit großen Unsicherheiten behaftet. Die Bundesregierung und die Deutsche Forstwirtschaft haben dieses Problem erkannt und setzen auf die Entwicklung von klimastabileren Mischwäldern. Allerdings wird die Erreichung dies Zieles auf großen Teilen der deutschen Waldfläche durch überhöhte Schalenwildbestände erheblich behindert.

Die Arbeitsgemeinschaft Naturgemäße Waldwirtschaft (ANW) hat zahlreiche Mitgliedsbetriebe, die auf einem guten Weg sind oder es bereits geschafft haben mit geeigneten Jagdmethoden eine Balance von Wald und Wild zu erreichen. Der wirtschaftlich angestrebte klimastabile Mischwald kann sich dort weitgehend ohne Schutz der Pflanzen entwickeln. Man sieht: wo es wirklich einen Willen gibt, finden Waldbesitzer und Jäger gemeinsam auch einen guten Weg. Je nach Örtlichkeit kann dieser sehr unterschiedlich sein.

Die Auswahl der nachfolgenden Betriebe hat sich dazu bereit erklärt, interessierten Gruppen ihren Weg zur Balance zu erklären und zu zeigen, wie der Wald darauf reagiert. Sprechen Sie die Betriebe an und holen Sie sich vielleicht das Wissen und den Mut, es selbst auch zu versuchen.

Verfasser: Hans von der Goltz – Projektleiter BioWild

Wir haben auf diesem Blog den Themenkomplex Waldbau, Wild, Klima und forstl. Resilienz bereits beleuchtet. Das Angebot Beispielbetriebe real zu besuchen ist von grossem Wert um praxisfähige Waldbau- und Jagdmodelle und vor allem deren Akteuere kennenzulernen.

Liste der Beispielsbetriebe_Liste (PDF)

 

EoE Forest with Belarus – Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the European Forest Risk Facility

EoE Forest: Storm, Risk and Forest-Resilience management across Belarus-Germany-France-Basque Country, 15-21 April 2018

This EoE was facilitated by the European Forest Risk Facility, hosted by EFI´s Resilience Program. It was supported by the World Bank and financed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR)

20180417_094408

New York: Urban forestry for the next century

In New York City, urban forests are heavily used for recreation, reports the article A Plan for New York City’s Forests. Yes, Forests., recently published by The New York Times. Unfortunately, city forests in the Big Apple are at stake: Due to climate change and invasive species that can change soil conditions, they risk losing wildlife and plants. A nonprofit group called the Natural Areas Conservancy therefore focuses on how to prepare the city’s forests for a changing climate, supposing that urban forests will be affected a generation or two before differences begin to appear in rural areas. This involves planting tree species resilient to climate change and – of course – requires financial investment. “Now, in close consultation with the Parks Department, the conservancy has prepared a long-term plan for the care of the city’s forests, what it says is the first of its kind in the nation. The conservancy is eager to export it and is training other nonprofit groups in the city to use data from the survey to their advantage”, states the article. More information on how the future urban forest should look like you will find here.