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Resilience Blog Posts

Gefährliche Mixtur: Warum das Waldbrandrisiko im Frühling so hoch ist

Ein Beitrag des „Verbund Vegetationsbrand

Der Waldbrandgefahrenindex des DWD für den 21. April 2020

Nachrichtenportale und das Radio berichten davon, und auch die Wettervorhersage der Tagesschau warnt zur besten Einschaltquote vor der derzeit hohen Waldbrandgefahr. Dies ist üblicherweise ein Thema, was eher in den heißen Sommermonaten besprochen wird – doch Waldbrände halten sich genauso wenig an Monatskalender wie an Ländergrenzen. Gerade in diesen Tagen ist das Risiko für Waldbrände enorm hoch. Neben der Zeit im Hochsommer (Juli/August) gilt besonders für April eine erhöhte Waldbrandgefahr.

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The Battle for Forest Biodiversity is Equipped with Explosives, Bullets and Chainsaws

Peaceful, tranquil, calm, still: these are all adjectives we might use to describe a walk in the forest. However, the forests we walk in may not always be the picture of serenity we imagine them to be. Behind the scenes some foresters are igniting explosives, firing guns at trees, decapitating ancient giants with chainsaws, and committing other disturbing acts that would make us tree-huggers quick to defend our beloved darlings. However, what we don’t know is that these fierce and seemingly cruel acts are doing just that, defending our forests against harm. It is not a battle against them, but rather a battle for them: the battle to bring back biodiversity.

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“Overconsumption is a driver of many of our environmental trade-offs”

An interview with Luc Bas, Director of IUCN’s European Office

Forests are among our planet’s most important human life-supporting ecosystems, and we have many expectations with regards to the ecosystem services they provide. But: how do major global challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss affect forests globally, and what can forest governance and management do? How can we deal with rising and changing demands for forest products and ecosystem services due to global population and economic growth, and urbanisation?

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International Day of Forests

How the European Network Integrate is raising awareness for forests by inviting society into the woods of Europe

On 21 March 2020, the International Day of Forests was planned to be celebrated with activities taking place all over the world. The day is about raising awareness of the importance of forests, and this years’ theme was Forests and Biodiversity. Like with many other cases these days, the COVID-19 pandemic required activities to be cancelled. Creative virtual alternatives were made and the FAO, as the principal initiator of International Day of forests, conducted an online event instead (http://www.fao.org/international-day-of-forests/en/). During the event, it was underlined that much of our planet’s biodiversity is found in forests, and therefore “The conservation of the world’s biodiversity depends on how we use and look after our forests,” said Maria Helena Semedo, Deputy Director-General, Climate and Natural Resources, FAO.

The emphasis on biodiversity fits into the aim of the European Network Integrate to advance forest management approaches for the integration of nature conservation into sustainable forest management. This is done at three levels: the decision-making policy level, the level of forest practitioners/managers, and the level of forest research and academic knowledge. The Network currently comprises close to 20 European Member States (both EU and non-EU countries) and involves about 50 representatives of policy and research related to forests and environment as well as the European Commission. As part of this initiative, close to 100 Marteloscope demonstration sites have been established all over Europe. Marteloscopes are silvicultural training sites of usually one hectare in which all trees are numbered, mapped and recorded. Using an evaluation and simulation software, virtual tree selection exercises can be performed. The training includes the identification of key habitat elements and structures, which is a crucial pre-requisite for the integration of biodiversity conservation aspects into commercial forest management. The application of different management goals and their effects on the economic and ecological values of the stand can then be objectively discussed by the participants onsite.

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The challenge of managing forests for multiple ecosystem services in a changing world

On 26-28 February 2020, about 200 scientists – forest ecologists, economists, policy analysts and conservationists – as well as interested stakeholders, students and practitioners from Europe and beyond gathered together at the Ceasar Research Centre in Bonn, Germany, to discuss scientific evidence relating to the current state of ‘integrated’ forest management approaches across the globe. Here’s my attempt of a short reportage of three very dense – but extremely interesting – days in the European Forest City 2020. 

Whether you are a regular reader of the Resilience blog or you ended up here by clicking a link in social media, one thing is clear: you are interested in forests. And you are interested to know how forests can be managed in an optimal way, so they provide not only wood but many ecosystem services (for example clean water, recreation, habitat, protection) to our busy society. Well, unfortunately there is not a universal recipe for this. Ecological conditions of forests as well as their governance, policies, and human societies surrounding them are very different across the globe. On top of that, our world is changing with a pace that is faster than the ability of forests to adapt to novel conditions. This demands us to bring together ideas for ‘integrated’ forest management solutions to face major global challenges. This was the reason why the European Forest Institute (EFI) in collaboration with several other research institutions and projects  organised the conference Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services across the globe”.

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Wald im Wandel: mein Interview mit dem Wandermagazin

Der Wald bietet Antworten auf eine Vielzahl von sozialen und ökologischen Fragen. Forschungsprojekte des European Forest Institute haben jedoch festgestellt, dass die breite Öffentlichkeit über forstbezogene Themen häufig nicht umfassend informiert ist. Dazu gehört zum Beispiel, dass Menschen gerne Holzmöbel kaufen, aber gleichzeitig eine Bewirtschaftung der Wälder oft kritisch gesehen wird. Wir brauchen eine engagierte Kommunikation zwischen dem Forstsektor und der breiten Gesellschaft, um diese Verständnislücke zu schließen. Als internationale Wissenschaftsorganisation arbeitet EFI auf unterschiedlichen Ebenen (von lokal zu global) und mit vielfältigen Akteuren und Interessengruppen. Dazu zählt natürlich die Wissenschaft, aber auch Forstpraktiker*innen sowie Vertreter*innen von Politik, Gesellschaft und den Medien. Über die Veröffentlichung von wissenschaftlicher Literatur hinaus sind wir auch offen für den Austausch von Erfahrungen und Informationen über nicht-akademische Plattformen. Ein Beispiel dafür ist das Wandermagazin, eine etablierte deutsche Zeitschrift, die über Wandern und Erholung in der Natur berichtet. Sein Publikum ist typischerweise sehr an der Natur interessiert, aber nicht unbedingt fachkundig. Die Redakteurin Svenja Walter hat sich deshalb entschlossen, eine Sonderausgabe mit dem Schwerpunkt Wald in Deutschland herauszugeben. Neben einem Förster und einem Naturschützer wurde ich interviewt, um eine Einführung zum Zustand der Wälder in Europa und speziell in Deutschland zu geben.

Den Artikel können Sie hier lesen (auf Deutsch). Ich wünsche Ihnen eine anregende Lektüre!

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Integration of forests, policy and mindsets

Written by Lison Ambroise & Sara Helsen

As part of the IFSA (International Forestry Students’ Organisation) delegation, we had the opportunity to take part in the conference “Governing and managing forests for multiple ecosystem services across the globe” in Bonn. The event did not only gather experts from many different countries, but also transdisciplinarity was the watchword: participants ranged from the field of forest policy to forest management research, and from practitioner to policymaker. 

During the introductory panel, the projects responsible for the organization of the conference were presented. Both the INFORMAR (Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture) and the POLYFORES (Decision-making support for Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe) project were introduced by Georg Winkel (Head of EFI Bonn), while the Research Training Group ConFoBi (Conservation of Forest Biodiversity in Multiple-Use Landscapes of Central Europe) was presented by Jürgen Bauhus (Freiburg University). After a welcome note by Eva Müller, Head of the Forestry Department of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the first plenary started with a global overview of today’s forest management and practices, a “Tour de la Planète”. From Robert Nasi (Center for International Forest Research, Natalia Lukina (Russian Academy of Sciences), Christian Messier (Université du Québec à Montréal), Ulrich Schraml (Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg), and Eduardo Rojas Briales (Polytechnic University of Valencia) we learned about European forests, tropical forests, Boreal forests – including differences between Russia and Sweden –, Australian and northern American ones, as well as Mediterranean forests. It was obvious that, depending on the localization of the forests and the societal context, the perception of forest ecosystem services differs a lot, as well as forest management. According to Robert Nasi, in some tropical forests, the informal sector accounts for ten times more logging than the formal one and the deforestation rate is still increasing, so what we call “sustainable management” does not seem to be the solution. In Russia, Australia, Canada, and the US, forest management is predominantly segregated, while many European countries apply an integrative approach. Segregation versus integration, that was a returning question. We were impressed by the creativity of Ulrich Schraml (Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg) who illustrated a history of segregation and reintegration using bowling pins in different colors.

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Navigating the World of Resilience

As the Resilience Programme of the European Forest Institute, we are looking for evidence-based ways to improve resilience in the European forests. However, a brief discussion in the office revealed that even among our staff there are almost as many interpretations of resilience as there are staff-members. We needed to have a clearer understanding on what resilience means in the context of forestry.

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Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects

What does climate change adaptation look like in Southern France? Is there anything we – in Central Europe – can learn from our colleagues in the South? Is risk management an issue there and do forest risk experts know the European Forest Risk Facility?

These were the questions – among others – that I had before attending the international symposium “Adapting forests to climate change: methods, tools, and projects” on 19-20 November 2019 in Toulouse, France.

The symposium was organized by the FORECCAST project, partially funded through the EU LIFE project,  aiming to provide Haut-Languedoc Regional Nature Park producers and forest managers with means to build a forest management strategy that takes into account the impact of climate change. Goal of the project is to raise awareness of the challenges posed by global change among stakeholders, elected representatives and the general public within that region.

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