Integrate Webinar: Green Deal’s perspectives on forests and forestry in the time of Covid and Greta
On 24 June, the Integrate Network facilitated by the European Forest Institute organised the first Integrate Webinar. The webinar focused on the European Green Deal and its impacts on forest management and protection in Europe, with a special focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation into sustainable forest management – which is the main focus of the Network.
On May 20th 2020, EFI held its first ThinkForest webinar: Science Insights to the European Green Deal and Forests. During this interactive event speakers and panelists took an in-depth look into the Green Deal, using a focus on the forest-based sector to discuss a range of topics including its objectives, weaknesses, and potential for further development. During the discussions, a key critique emerged from speakers and panelists: The Green Deal lacks clear consideration of a forest bioeconomy, which is crucial for addressing the climate, economy, and biodiversity simultaneously. The critique was met with an almost unanimous agreement by audience members, with a final poll revealing that 88% of participants thought the Green Deal should be updated to include this missing link.
Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic we have begun to reshape the way we think about many things including our work lives, social lives, and health. But what about biodiversity? After weeks of facing the same view from our home office, some of us have started to notice the biodiversity of our gardens and become avid new birdwatchers, running to grab our binoculars whenever we see a new species. Others have started visiting the forest more often and have found peace and comfort in the biodiversity it offers. However, the link between biodiversity and the COVID-19 crisis is much larger than what goes on in our backyards. With the theme of biodiversity, this World Environment Day urges us to address this link and take urgent action in order to safeguard the diversity of life on the planet, and ultimately our own.
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.
“Deadwood has a major role for the conservation of saproxylic species and contributes to carbon sequestration, nutrient supply, natural regeneration and protection against falling rocks.” (Lachat et al., 2013:92)*
A substantial amount of literature on the importance of deadwood in
Central European forests has been available providing partial recommendations
to enhance deadwood-dependent biodiversity. However, a comprehensive review of
science- and forestry experts-based recommendations effectively enhancing
deadwood bearing in mind operational implications has not been presented in
The North remembers! Or does it? Winter was coming when I traveled to Scandinavia this January to conduct interviews on integrated forest management. For those less familiar with forestry jargon, this term describes a forest management characterized at attaining multiple outputs from the same forest, sometimes even the same stand. The term is very broad and needs to be specified further before it can be applied. In the case of the INFORMAR project, on which I will write here, we assess the application of nature conservation measures into forestry.
Who does’t know the adventures of Asterix and Obelix? These two friends and their fellow villagers are constantly trying to defend their way of life against the never-ending attempts from outsiders to destroy it. Stories like this have occurred throughout history all across the planet, but luckily most of them are peaceful. This is a story about resilience; not only of forests, but mainly of people.
“With drought and heat posing individual threats [to forests], there is also the looming threat of frequent ‘double whammies’ of drought and heat: concurrent drought and heatwaves, across India and the globe”, says a recent Nature study introduced by science writer Sandhya Sekar on the conservation and environmental science news platform Mongobay.
According to Sekar, “the response of vegetation to a combination of drought and stress is complex, ranging from short-lived local mortality events to regional-scale forest die-offs. A variety of forest types have shown mortality in the face of concurrent heat and drought: dry savannas which are adapted to seasonal rainfall, coniferous forests with a Mediterranean climate to tropical rainforests.”
How does the Danish Nature Agency address the trend of rewilding? What are the plans to transition managed forests into forest biodiversity reserves in Denmark – and what are the expected benefits and challenges? We discussed these and other questions with Mogens Krog, Deputy forest officer at the Danish Nature Agency.
Mogens, rewilding is a trend in Denmark now – who are the ones who argue for large connected wild nature areas and no further management? And what is the approach of the Danish Nature Agency?
In Denmark there is a growing interest among nature conservationists and nature conservation NGO’s for large connected wild nature with large herbivores (plant eater). A large area in a Danish context is considered to be 500 ha. Some argue for re-introduction of species which have been part of nature in Denmark in pre-historic time, e.g. wild horses, European bison, moose, and even elephants. Others find domestic animals such as cattle and horses, sufficient to create natural disturbances in nature areas for the benefit of biodiversity.
Denmark is a much regulated landscape with agriculture covering more than 60 % of the land area. Therefore, it may be relative expensive to include private land in rewilding projects Also, in order to avoid major conflicts with agricultural interests, rewilding is likely to be limited to large fences. State owned land is the focus of rewilding interests. In Denmark, state owned land is primarily managed by the Danish Nature Agency under the Ministry of the Environment and Food and covers app. 5% of the total land area in Denmark (210.000 ha).
FAO Headquarters held the 24TH Committee on Forestry and the 6th World Forest Week.
After I had my Italian breakfast, with a cappuccino and a croissant, I walked into the FAO atrium and the ambiance was welcoming the international guests into a colorful and ”forested” scenario.
The conference presented a rich programme including the COFO 24th ’s plenary sessions, and the 6th World Forest Week , characterized by high-level dialogues and open-discussions in the side events.