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Tag: climate change

Forever young – an end of an era for old-growth forests?

When asked what kind of trees I like, the answer always is old. No matter the species, there is something humbling and comforting about the old giants that puts my mind at ease. And I’m not the only one: big, ancient trees are central in many mythologies, and some individuals are famous and loved by many, for example General Sherman in the USA and Major Oak in the UK. But we might not be able to enjoy their majesty much longer, according to a recent study.

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Embrace the Green Deal!

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.

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Waldwissenschaftler fordern: Waldumbau durch effiziente Bejagung unterstützen

Warum wir eine Neufassung des Bundesjagdgesetzes brauchen

Ein Gastbeitrag von Christian Ammer, Thomas Knoke und Michael Müller

Vor dem Hintergrund der Herausforderungen durch den Klimawandel müssen wir vielgestaltige und anpassungsfähige Wälder aufbauen. Wildeinflüsse können dieses Ziel gefährden. Deswegen hat der wissenschaftliche Beirat für Waldpolitik des Bundesministeriums für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (BMEL) im Februar 2020 ein Eckpunktepapier zur Waldstrategie 2050 veröffentlicht. In diesem wird benannt, welche Regelungen bei der Reform des Bundesjagdgesetzes geändert werden müssten, um den drängenden Aufgaben nachkommen zu können. Wir stimmen der Analyse und den Empfehlungen des wissenschaftlichen Beirats aus waldwissenschaftlicher Sicht im Wesentlichen zu und fordern die Politik auf, die Empfehlungen ihres Beirats zu berücksichtigen.

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Assessing the potential of climate-based forestry services – Your opinion counts!

Decades of study have shown and quantified the impact of climate change on forests around the world. Changes in growth patterns, drought induced mortality, and species distribution shift have been observed in many forest ecosystems as well as the additional effects on water availability, increase numbers of pest and diseases, and the rise of detrimental effects of natural disasters (e.g. mega-fires). On the other hand, forests have also been acknowledged as “stabilizing forces for the climate[1]. Thanks to their ecosystem services provision, shelters of flora and fauna biodiversity, and key role in the carbon cycle. Additionally, forests play a key role in sustaining sustainable livelihoods of many communities around the globe.

It becomes thus paramount to develop integrated tools, which can support the forestry sector in halting the loss and degradation of forests, as well as to reach a sustainable development for the sector. To this end, The European Forest Institute, El Cubo Verde, Vizzuality and Tecnalia are working together in a market study to assess the potential of forestry services based on Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) data available through its Climate Data Store (CDS). This initiative is organized within the framework of a Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) contract; C3S is one of the six services of the EU’s Copernicus Programme and is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (ECMWF), on behalf of the European Union.

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Always Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth: The Case of the European Green Deal

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.

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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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“Unser Wald im Klimawandel” – Kurzfilm zur Waldbewirtschaftung in NRW

Die Landesregierung NRW hat einen kurzen Film veröffentlicht, in dem der Zustand unserer Wälder in NRW näher beleuchtet wird. Dabei geht es auch um die kurz- sowie langfristigen Maßnahmen des NRW-Umweltministeriums, um diesen Zustand zu verbessern.

Ein Drittel der Fläche von NRW ist mit Wäldern bedeckt. Diese werden nach dem forstlichen Nachhaltigkeitsprinzip bewirtschaftet, aber die durch den Klimawandel ausgelösten Veränderungen stellen große Schwierigkeiten für die Forstwirtschaft dar. Dazu gehören vor allem Stürme, Trockenheit und Borkenkäfer, aber auch viele andere Herausforderungen.

Im Video werden kurz- sowie langfristige Hilfen für die Waldbesitzer vorgestellt – und viele weitere Informationen und digitale Karten über unsere Wälder sind auf dem neuen Waldinfo-Portal https://www.waldinfo.nrw.de/ zu finden.

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“Ohne Bäume, keine Träume” (Without trees, no dreams)


Three days prior to the start of the UN Climate conference in Madrid, the fourth global climate strike initiated by the “Fridays for Future” movement was held on Friday 29th of November 2019, the same day as “Black Friday”. Worldwide 7 million people in 150 countries protested for more climate protection while simultaneously against excessive consumerism, as it was Black Friday.
In Germany, 630.000 people in around 520 places went on the streets to demonstrate especially under the banner “Neustart Klima” (Restart Climate) against the new German climate programme, which was under ballot in the federal council of Germany at the same time. The currently planned climate progamme is widely named in the media and by protestors “Klimapaketchen” (small climate package) as critics consider it slack and not efficient enough.

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Bitten by the same bug – German spruce in jeopardy

“Scientists alarmed by bark beetle boom” (ScienceDaily, 2019), “French forests scarred as heatwaves bring bark beetle infestation” (Euronews, 2019a), “Czech forest owners face $1.7 billion loss this year from bark beetle crisis” (Euronews, 2019b) and finally “Merkel promises €500m to revitalise German forests” (Guardian, 2019) – these were only some of the many forest-related headlines in European news in the past months.

It is obvious: How weather affects our forests, would not have made it to the news ten years ago – but following the unprecedented hot temperatures, long dry spells as well as severe storm events in Central Europe, everybody was talking about the state of our forests. These extreme weather events are a not only a huge burden for human health but also for entire natural ecosystems. In Germany, extreme temperatures contributed to the extremely dire state of about 180,000 ha of forested area and taxpayer support of 800 million Euros for reforestation measures (FAZ, 2019). In the past, evolution gave flora and fauna the opportunity to adapt to changing environmental conditions and climates but the pace and scale of climatic changes that we experience today, give our natural world a mountain to climb, regardless of the money thrown at the problem.

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Resilience: what tree rings can say

A single definition of forest resilience is yet to be found, so we decided to establish a series of interviews introducing scientists who deal with this term every day. Meet Ute Sass-Klaassen from Wageningen University. Her research focuses on tree growth in relation to environmental factors. Droughts, flooding, heat waves, fires, and frost events play an important role for productivity and survival of trees and may cause severe disturbances in forest ecosystem services. Knowledge about forest growth and mortality provides valuable information for understanding how surviving trees have reacted to these disturbances and determining basic parameters of a functioning forest ecosystem.

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