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Resilience Blog Posts

Sustaining cities, naturally – across 3 continents

The role of cities in the light of the health of people and the planet alike, is undeniably crucial. While cities only make up about 2% of terrestrial areas, more than 50% of the World’s population is already living in cities (Pincetl, 2017). This trend of urbanization is expected to continue to grow into a staggering 65% of the world population living in cities by 2040 (weforum, 2019).  

While poorly planned urbanization can lead to societal challenges such as social deprivation, climate change, deteriorating health and increasing pressure on urban nature, urban ecosystem restoration can contribute to lessen these challenges, through for example implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). Research by the ISGlobal drastically illustrated this: An increase in overall greenness in cities could prevent up to almost 43.000 deaths in European cities every year (ISGlobal, 2021).
On Thursday and Friday, the 13th and 14th of October the webinar “Sustaining Cities, Naturally” focused precisely on these topics: NBS and urban ecosystem restoration. The webinar was jointly organized by four Horizon 2020 projects: INTERLACECONEXUSREGREEN and CLEARING HOUSE as an official side-event of the The European Week of Regions and Cities 2022. By bringing together cities, regions and local authorities, city network representatives, policy makers, researchers, civil society and experts on NBS and urban ecosystem restoration, the webinar was a showcase example of international cooperation in knowledge creation and exchange. With a total of 333 participants on Thursday and 571 on Friday as well as 29 speakers, NBS and urban ecosystems restoration in Europe, China and Latin America were discussed in depth and from various perspectives.  

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Join the webinar “Sustaining Cities, Naturally: Urban ecosystem restoration”

Poorly planned urbanisation can lead to societal challenges as social deprivation, climate change, deteriorating health and increasing pressure on urban nature. Urban ecosystem restoration can contribute to lessen these challenges, e.g. through implementing nature-based solutions (NBS). This online webinar illustrates how Horizon 2020 projects are supporting international cooperation in knowledge creation and knowledge exchange between local authorities and researchers to promote urban ecosystem restoration in Europe, China and Latin America.

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SUPERB & IUFRO 1st Forest Restoration Talk with John Stanturf: “If nature is the solution, what is the problem?”

You are invited to take part in our new “Monthly Forest Restoration Talks”, hosted by the SUPERB project in partnership with IUFRO‘s Task Force ‘Transforming Forest Landscapes for Future Climates and Human Well-Being’.

Targeting researchers, practitioners, NGOs, policy makers and other interested stakeholders, the webinar series will investigate forest restoration questions from diverse scientific perspectives, with alternating focus on the global and European levels. This includes exploring practical forest restoration approaches, experiences and challenges worldwide.

Taking place on Wednesday, 9 November from 16:00-17:30 CET, the first webinar features forest restoration specialist John Stanturf as a speaker, discussing the topic “If nature is the solution, what is the problem? A perspective from forest landscape restoration”.

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“Forest restoration needs to look ahead, not backwards, in face of climate change”: An interview with SUPERB coordinator Elisabeth Pötzelsberger on World Habitat Day

This 3rd of October is World Habitat Day! To celebrate the occasion, Elisabeth Pötzelsberger, Head of Resilience Programme at the European Forest Institute (EFI) and coordinator of the SUPERB project, explained the importance of “prestoration” – the combination of restoration and climate adaptation – for resilient and functional forest habitats. She discussed how it differs from classical restoration approaches, highlighted its relevance to the new EU Nature Restoration Law and listed concrete examples of how prestoration is being applied within the SUPERB demonstration areas in Germany and in the Czech Republic.

Watch the video interview on YouTube or read it below!

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“New legal initiatives towards deforestation-free supply chains will definitely be a game changer”

Interview by Gesche Schifferdecker & Rosa Castañeda

Dr. Gerhard Langenberger is an expert on sustainable land use policy working at giz, the German Corporation for International Cooperation. Before joining giz, Gerhard coordinated two large international joint research projects dealing with natural rubber for the University of Hohenheim. We talked about his field of expertise – natural rubber – and learned why discussions on deforestation didn’t play a dominant role in the rubber sector in the past. Furthermore, we wanted to find out about the challenges and opportunities for smallholder farmers in Asian countries as well as for international forest governance – and about the local and the international environment influence each other. We also explored responsibilities for companies and potential incentives for manufacturers to use materials from fair trade and sustainable sources. Finally, we learned what “deforestation-free” actually means – and how we as consumers can influence the market to reduce land degradation and support sustainable forest management and biodiversity conservation.

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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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What if digital art and augmented reality could bring us closer to the forests?

by Beatrice Bellavia

Can you evoke the typical scent of a forest? Close your eyes and imagine walking down a path of needles, that is all it takes. But did you know that trees are not only oxygen generators – but produce large amounts of volatile organic compounds?  It is basically as if they were breathing, and this is precisely where the unmistakable forest smell comes from. 

Recently, I have experienced how trees breath – but guess what: not in the forest, but in a museum. It happened when I approached the immersive installation „ATMOSPHERIC FOREST“. In this installation, thanks to the augmented reality technology, I was able to navigate through the „breathing“ trees of the Swiss forest of Pfynwald.  I watched the forest from the bottom up, followed the path through the tree trunk until it brought the eye far up above the trees – yes, like a bird.

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EFI-Experte und Waldbrandökologe Alex Held zu Gast bei hart aber fair 

Im Rahmen der ARD-Themenwoche „Dürre” hat auch die Politik-Talkshow hart aber fair am 29. August sich des Themas angenommen und über die Folgen der Dürre für Mensch und Natur diskutiert. In diesem Zusammenhang ging es natürlich auch um die Gefahr von Waldbränden und das Waldbrandjahr 2022, das bereits als trauriges „Rekordjahr“ bezeichnet wird. Dafür wurde unser EFI-Kollege Alex Held als Experte eingeladen. In einem Einzelgespräch mit Moderator Frank Plasberg räumte der WKR-Projektleiter und Waldbrandökologe mit Mythen über Waldbrand-Ursachen auf und erklärt, inwieweit Deutschland und unsere Wälder auf diese intensiven Brände vorbereitet sind.  

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New policy brief: How agricultural commodity trader responses can influence the effectiveness of the new EU deforestation proposal  

Have you ever thought about how the consumption of some of our favourite products can be linked to deforestation? Or how political decisions and policies can influence such linkages? The EU consumes significant amounts of products made from agricultural commodities, such as cocoa, palm oil, and soy, and the related agricultural expansion of these commodities causes vast forest loss in countries of production in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. Various trading companies operate supply chains across the globe and move the products to Europe for our consumption, making them important actors in controlling forest loss linked to agricultural products. In the coming years, new EU regulations will set increased obligations for traders in order to reduce EU market-driven forest loss. However, it is not sure how traders will react to the new regulations and how their decisions could influence the impact of the EU regulation to limit EU market-driven deforestation. 

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