About the forest, trends and sneakers

How can we approach young urban populations and inform them about the importance of forest use and protection? The easiest way might be to connect an important function of the forest and an important part of their life: recreation.

When we asked the participants of the “Mighty Forest Event” on Saturday, September 15th in Düsseldorf, what the forest means to them, said young urban population confirmed this connection. We were happy to hear numerous statements like “The forest is a place to relax”; “We enjoy the fresh air provided by the trees”; as well as: “I like to walk or do sports in the forest”.

As the name might suggest, the event was all about sneakers and forests. Afew, a fashionable sneakers store in Düsseldorf, designed and produced the sneaker “Mighty Forest” with a few extra details to support reforestation and to raise awareness of the situation of forests worldwide. The release took place in the framework of the “German Forest days” (Deutsche Waldtage), where organizations and institutions all over Germany organized events in and around the forests with a special focus on sports and recreation. The “Mighty forest” was limited to 300 pairs. As part of the project, Afew supports the planting of ten trees with the help of Plant-for-the-Planet for every pair of sneakers they sell. We as European Forest Institute’s Resilience Programme provided the project with the scientific knowledge behind the booklet which educates about crucial forest related facts and accompanied each pair of sneakers.

SINCEREly worth a look!

The European project Spurring INnovations for forest eCosystem sERvices in Europe (SINCERE) is officially launched. SINCERE is a four year project on the variety of ecosystem services provided to people by our forests. Funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and coordinated by the European Forest Institute, the project aims at contributing to a potential foundation for a new European forest related policy.

SINCERE is all about ecosystem services related to forests – with a focus on but not limited to European forests. Ecosystem Services in short are goods and services which benefit society. They are multifaceted and reveal themselves in many ways – from economic over material to health and emotional contributions. You can check out our introductory video for a more detailed explanation.

While you may immediately think of carbon sinks, water cycle and wood biomass, forests are also associated with cultural and spiritual benefits.

Metsään meni – into the forest: Finnish delegation visits Bonn

How does the German forest look like for visitors from the north? There are taller trees and the exotic European beech, but the Norway spruce reminds us of home. We exchanged that and some other thoughts with a delegation from the Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry[1] who visited the Bonn Office on the 29th of August. They were hosted by colleagues from the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)[2] who also participated in a field visit to an urban forest in Bonn.

After a brief introduction about the EFI Resilience Programme, we had the opportunity to visit the Jägerhäuschen Marteloscope site, where Uwe Schölmerich, the head of the Regional Forest Enterprise Rhein-Sieg-Erft, kindly guided us.

Despite the obvious differences between German and Finnish forest ecology and management, many of the challenges we face are similar. Bark beetles have been causing damages in both countries for a long time, and the exceptionally hot and dry summer brought forest fires to the agenda in an entirely new way. Halting the loss of biodiversity is also an important part of current forest management and planning even if the systems are different.

Forest managers and other interested groups learn about integrated forest management in both countries. The use of demonstration sites such as e.g. Marteloscopes has proven a valuable tool for educating and creating a dialogue among various interest groups relating to different aspects of forest management. The Finnish delegation at the Jägerhäuschen Marteloscope clearly recognized it. They suggested adding a carbon sequestration component to the I+ software training tool which allows to visualize, how forest management decisions affect the carbon balance of the site and how wood products from harvested wood contribute to store carbon over many years. We thanked the Finnish delegation for this valuable input and expressed our hope that Marteloscopes may also find application in training and education in Finland in the near future.

[1] Juha Niemelä – The Head of the Natural Resources Unit; Heikki Granholm – Forest Counsellor; Teemu Seppä – Senior Adviser

[2] Axel Heider – Manager ‘Forestry Department’; Matthias Schwoerer- Head of ‘International Forest Policy Unit’; Aljoscha Requardt – International Forest Policy Unit

Adapting European forests to climate-change-driven risks: science – policy interface

A science-policy event jointly organized by European Forest Institute’s ThinkForest and Forest Europe is planned for April 2019 in Prague to raise awareness about forest disturbance threats in European forests among policy makers, the media and the general public in Europe, underlining the importance of risk prevention efforts and management for enhanced forest resilience. The event will advocate for a European Forest Risk Facility and seeks to gather political support to place forest disturbance management high on the agenda of the next Ministerial Conference for the Protection of Forests in Europe. The event will be used to launch the EFI Multi Donor Trust Fund for Policy Support funded Bark Beetle study. Back to back with this science-policy event, EFI’s SURE project will organize (with support from the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague) a capacity building workshop on the practical implementation of risk management of biotic threats.

These were the main outcomes from the informal coordination meeting “Adapting European forests to climate-change-driven risks: science – policy interface” between EFI and Forest Europe, which took place in Zvolen, Slovakia on August 27-28. The objective was to discuss the cooperation between the institutions related to the increasing challenges of forest disturbances in Europe.

Lehren aus den Waldbränden 2018

Der Sommer 2018 war und ist immer noch ein ausgesprochener Feuer-Sommer für unsere Wälder in Deutschland und Zentraleuropa. Eine ungewohnt hohe Zahl von Vegetationsbränden zwingt zur Diskussion der Ursachen einerseits, regt aber auch zum Nachdenken an, was zukünftig getan werden kann und muss.

Erste schnelle Reaktionen befassen sich wie üblich sofort mit der Feuerwehr und der Frage, wie die Einsatzkräfte in Zukunft noch besser und effizienter vorgehen können –  also der reaktive Ansatz und die Bekämpfung des Symptoms, aber nicht der Ursache. Selbstverständlich brauchen wir Feuerwehren, die bestmöglichst ausgebildet und ausgerüstet sind. Der Blick über unsere Ländergrenzen hinweg bietet zahlreiche Möglichkeiten, hier nachzubessern. Die European Forest Risk Facility und das weitere Netzwerk sind seit langem in diesem Bereich des länderübergreifenden “Exchange of Experts” tätig. Allerdings nicht nur auf reaktiver Seite sondern auch und vorallem in den Bereichen Prävention und Erhöhung der Resilienz.

Resilience or stability: which is best for forest management?

Recently, the idea of resilience has started to dominate thinking about all sorts of biological and social systems. It is, in fact, quite an old idea, first introduced in 1973 by C.S. Holling, an ecologist himself. Based on his first seminal paper, Holling and others later extended the concept of resilience to a wide range of systems that include aspects of social and ecological sciences. But what is resilience? And how does it differ from stability?

Holling distinguishes resilience and stability as two opposite characteristics of ecological systems. Stability is the ability of a system to return to the same equilibrium state after a temporary disturbance. “Resilience, on the other hand, is the ability of systems to absorb change and disturbance and still maintain the same relationships between populations or state variables.”

Waldbautraining mit Marteloskopen und moderner IT

Forstfachleute aus acht Bundesländern und aus der Schweiz tauschten sich zu den Perspektiven von IT-gestützten Waldbau-Schulungen aus.

Vom 10.-11.7.2018 trafen sich in Bonn forstliche Fachleute aus zahlreichen Bundesländern, aus der Schweiz und von Hochschulen sowie vom Europäischen Forstinstitut (EFI), um sich zum Stand und zu Perspektiven von Waldbau-Schulungen auszutauschen. Hierbei ging es vor allem um die künftige Rolle moderner Informationstechnologien und um die didaktische Weiterentwicklung von Waldbau-Schulungen. Präsentiert und diskutiert wurden Erfahrungen aus dem von EFI initiierten Integrate+-Projekt (Integration von Waldnaturschutz in die Waldbewirtschaftung und Nutzung besonderer Demonstrationsflächen) und aus den Forstverwaltungen verschiedener Bundesländer. Das Expertentreffen begann mit dem Austausch von Erfahrungen bezüglich der Nutzung von Demonstrationsflächen für die integrative Waldbewirtschaftung, sogenannte Marteloskopflächen, für unterschiedliche Trainingszwecke. Darüber hinaus wurden Beispiele aus der Praxis des Waldbau-Trainings vorgestellt und Entwicklungsperspektiven für die Waldbau-Schulung diskutiert. In Bonn sind die ersten beiden NRW-Marteloskope nach dem Integrate+-Ansatz eingerichtet. Eine dieser Flächen im Kottenforst wurde unter Führung von Uwe Schölmerich und Klaus Striepen von Wald und Holz NRW am zweiten Tag besucht, um den Erfahrungsaustausch im Wald fortzusetzen. Die Exkursion war auch verbunden mit einer virtuellen, von einer am EFI entwickelten Trainingssoftware unterstützten Durchforstungsübung.

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?