By Jakob Derks and Andreas Schuck
The Steigerwald, one of Germany’s largest deciduous forest, was almost in summer attire when a group of forest experts from 12 different countries met for a workshop, organized by Andreas Schuck and Jakob Derks from the European Forest Institute and Daniel Kraus from the Bavarian State Forest Enterprise. No less than 45 participants gathered to exchange experiences related to the use of Marteloscopes in the Ebrach forest district. The group was composed of forest and nature conservation managers, forest administration and ministry representatives as well as scientists from different disciplines. Norbert Vollmann from the newspaper Mainpost wrote an article in German about the workshop.
By Theresa Frei & Johanna Strieck
“We must act to halt and reverse the unsustainable use of nature – or risk not only the future we want, but even the lives we currently lead”, says Sir Robert Watson – chair of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). This is but one somber, yet realistic conclusion drawn from the most recent reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
By the end of March, IPBES approved four landmark science reports on biodiversity and ecosystem services for different regions of the world and published a report on land degradation and restoration worldwide. These reports, comparable to the IPCC reports on climate change, result from three years of work, involving more than 550 leading scientists from over 100 countries to assess the state of worldwide biodiversity and ecosystem services. The main findings draw a gloomy future, however not without mentioning the one or the other ray of hope.
“How are different European countries dealing with Integrated Forest Management and which role do questions like tree composition, forest ownership, and expectations with regards to timber production play? What are the challenges regarding effective funding schemes for Integrated Forest Management, and why do we need payments for ecosystem services? How can we better communicate the advantages of Integrated Forest Management? Which tools can be used to further educate foresters, policy makers, and other relevant stakeholders? Following the invitation of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic, we discussed these and more issues in the framework of the second meeting of the European Network INTEGRATE from 19-21 March 2018.
Together with more than 40 representatives of ministries, state forests and private forest owners, researchers and practitioners from 10 European countries, we spent three inspiring days in the Czech Republic. Most of the participants came from Poland, Slovakia, Germany, Croatia, Austria and – of course – the Czech Republic, and Italy was represented by a new network member from the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies. Joining INTEGRATE for the first time, policy makers from Finland, Latvia and Belgium shared their countries’ approaches to forest management and the integration of nature protection in forest policy.
Wrapping up the results of the InForMAr kick-off meeting
By Johanna Strieck & Laura Nikinmaa
European Forest Institute’s (EFI) Bonn office hosted a two-day’s workshop to kick off the project Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture (InForMAr). The project aims at conveying existing knowledge related to the implementation of integrated forest management, in order to spread cases of success as well as to address and to fill potential knowledge gaps. To get a background as inclusive as possible, around 30 European policy stakeholders, scientists and practitioners joined the workshop to discuss (and co-design) the research approach of the InForMAr project, and to connect to the project’s networking and policy/practice support activities.
Head of EFI’s resilience program Dr. Georg Winkel introduced the project and drew attention to its integrative character from the beginning: “The main aspect is to create learning sites for policy, science and practice to connect, to enable the identification of driving forces, so to understand and to demonstrate successful cases for adaptation in all contexts.” Specific training sites, called Marteloscopes, already enjoy great popularity. According to Andreas Schuck, Senior Researcher within InForMAr, stakeholders from all over Europe already express high interest – from practitioners over policy stakeholders to universities.
The European network INTEGRATE is currently comprised of 16 European member states and involves 50 representatives of policy and research related to forest and environment as well as the European commission. Its main objective is to encourage the international exchange of success stories on integrated forest management, which implies the integration of nature conservation into sustainable forest management.
The network was initially brought into life by German federal minister Christian Schmidt and his Czech colleague Marian Jurêcka, and subsequently supported by the European Commission’s Standing Forestry Committee. Forest management challenges related to nature conservation are rather similar across Europe. States within and outside the EU already plan on being actively involved in the network. INTEGRATE member states will provide forest areas on which their successful management strategies can be exemplified.
A Marteloscope training exercise took place on the 25th of October 2017 in the Sihlwald Marteloscope in Switzerland which is managed by the Wildnispark Zürich.
The course was organised for 20 students from the Bern University of Applied Sciences – School of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences (HAFL). A central aim set by Thibault Lachat (HAFL), Andreas Schuck (EFI) and Frank Krumm (WSL) was to ensure that students learn to make educated decisions by taking into account numerous aspects when managing forest stands. In particular, the workshop focused on how to ensure maintaining biological diversity in managed forests – and dealt with the question of what the gains are and where to make the trade-offs .
In Europe, there are almost as many ways to manage forests as there are forest owners. However, many of the challenges they face are the same: how to manage wildlife, how to prevent storm damage and how to ensure successful regeneration in the changing climate, to name just a few. To find the best management practice can be a challenge. One of the most efficient ways to overcome this struggle is to talk to and learn from someone, who has faced a similar problem. European Forest Institute (EFI) and Czech Republic brought together practitioners from different parts of Europe to learn from each other’s experiences in the framework of the SURE (SUstaining and Enhancing REsilience of European Forest) project, coordinated by the EFI Bonn office.
Pro Silva Bohemica and the FRISK (European Forest Risk Facility) secretariat at EFI Bonn office organized an Exchange of Experts to Czech Republic in October 2017, where participants from forest services, wildlife management associations and communal forest owners’ association from different parts of Germany, Austria, Ireland and Czech Republic could meet and learn from one another.
The programme included a vast amount of topics. Participants discussed large scale disturbances and forest die-back, practising close-to-nature forestry and transitioning from monoculture to continuous cover forestry as well as the impact of wildlife on forest management. Risk reduction, resilience and mitigating climate change were also reviewed.
Of different challenges that forest managers face, the deer impact on tree regeneration was one of the most prominent one in Czech. Many tree species, especially Silver fir (Abies alba), need long time protection from deer. As protection of seedlings and older trees is costly, there is an interest to establish a better game management plan. One option is to develop an integrated wildlife management plan that could be implemented with the support of EFI.
The Exchange of Experts is part of the SURE project activities. See the full report here.
Marteloscope sites are like outdoor forest classrooms where the trees are numbered, mapped and measured. They can be used to train foresters and other interest groups how different silvicultural measures may affect forest biodiversity and to what extent. Software running on mobile devices allows virtual tree selection exercises and then displays the results. Participants can immediately see the ecological and economic consequences of their choices. Variations in exercise results initiate discussion and stimulate the exchange of experiences and learning.
Andreas Schuck from the EFI Bonn team is conducting training exercises with different stakeholders from the field of forestry, nature conservation, and academia. The latest training took place at the Falkenberg Marteloscope on 16th of October. It is located in the northern Vosges region of France. Twelve participants representing both forestry and nature conservation were introduced to Marteloscopes and their potential applications followed by a virtual tree selection exercise. The exercise asked for selecting habitat trees while removing high quality trees for economic return. Andreas Schuck and Frank Krumm from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL) moderated the training jointly with Loïc Duchamp from the Parc Naturel Régional des Vosges du Nord, France (PNRVN). The same virtual tree selection exercise was implemented by groups of two followed by a brief presentation of results and joint discussion. Habitat and economic valuable trees were then looked at more closely in order to challenge the groups on their decisions.