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Tag: integrative forest management

The future of sustainable forest management grows with TRANSFORMIT

New collaborative project launches to integrate societal demands with biodiversity conservation

Whether we witness branches coming back to life as spring unfolds, observe squirrels swiftly disappearing into the woods, or notice the crisp sound of boots on snow-covered trails—forest experiences hold meaning to us in many ways. But how else can we value forests?

Clean water sources, fresh air, healthy soil, flood control, climate change mitigation, and the survival of wildlife—all of these contribute to the relational value of forests. This goes beyond mere timber; forests embody a wealth of long-lasting socio-ecological benefits. We deeply rely on forests for social, economic, and cultural wellbeing. Balancing the needs of diverse stakeholders and reconciling short-term gains with long-term interests has been a historical challenge in the relationship between societal demands and forest conservation efforts. It is a dilemma that risks fueling environmental conflict and pessimism across the world.

Integrative Forest Management (IFM) emerges as a practical solution to address these conflicts. IFM seeks to harmonize the ecological and socio-economic demands for forests through sustainable forest management, aiming to enhance biodiversity while equally ensuring economic viability. Over the past 13 years, European Forest Institute’s (EFI) exploration and research into IFM through projects like Integrate (2011-2013), Integrate+ (2013-2016), INFORMA (2017-2020), and FoReSite (2020-2022), have been proactive. While the concept of IFM is well-established, it currently lacks operational elements in terms of verification, monitoring, guidance, and Europe-wide implementation. This gap is what led us to initiate the new TRANSFORMIT project. 

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ForestMoocForChange: join the first free online course on Continuous Cover Forestry

Today forests are under increasing pressure: on one side society demands productivity and multipurpose use, while on the other side there’s increasing pressure from climatic extremes and intensification of forest disturbances.

We need constructive responses to these pressures like integrative forest management approaches and close-to-nature solutions to both enable the multipurpose value of our forest as well as to enhance their biodiversity and resilience in the face of climatic disruption. However, one of the main hurdles to enable new management systems is the general lack of knowledge and expertise on alternative management options available, and we have a solution for that!

ForestMoocForChange is a new and free online course providing an introduction to continues cover forestry, covering the various aspects of this innovative forestry approach over an 8-week period. The course includes numerous videos produced in the field by experts, managers and owners. Each week, a live meeting will be organised with the speakers enabling you to ask your questions and discuss the subject covered. From discovering how continuous cover works and its dynamics, to questions of an economic, ecological or social nature, the MOOC is designed to be comprehensive and aimed at everyone. 

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What foresters want

Recently there has been broad political interest in alternative forest management systems, in response factors that call for a rethinking of production-oriented forestry, including biodiversity concerns, resilience issues and socio-economic changes. The EU Biodiversity Strategy 2030 for example calls for the development of nature-oriented forestry practices to safeguard biodiversity and rural livelihoods. Moreover, it sets a target for 30% of the European land cover to be under some sort of protection scheme, with 10% being strictly protected. Correspondingly, the EU Forest Strategy for 2030 proposes Closer-to-Nature forestry as the forestry concept to help achieve these goals.

So far for the goals and aspirations of policy makers. But how do these aims relate to the reality on the ground, and how keen are forest managers to make that vision come true? Those are the questions we sought to answer in our newly published paper Integrating nature conservation measures in european forest management – An exploratory study of barriers and drivers in 9 european countries – ScienceDirect.

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“Imagine there’s a forest” – inspirations from Francis Hallé

Humans originate from arboreal primates, so to really understand the forest, you have to experience it from the canopy. This is what the famous French botanist and conservationist Francis Hallé believes. Despite his respectable age, the spry octogenarian had no issues demonstrating his capability to do so on the tree top path next the biosphere centre in the Pfälzerwald.

Located on the French border, in the middle of the largest contiguous forest in Germany, this centre is the location of the Wasgauer Gespräche/les entretiens du Wasgau. Every second year, this bilingual event brings together people from the French and the German sides of the border to talk about various nature-related topics. This year’s question was: how much nature do humans need? Speaking on behalf of EFI and the Integrate network, I was the only presenter to talk about the pragmatic need for wood, and how integrative forest management can be a solution for providing needed draw materials while also conserving biodiversity. This however does not mean that it is the best solution everywhere. In some places a more intensive management style makes sense, while in others the wise option is to leave nature to itself. And this is exactly the case made by Francis Hallé during the opening session of the event.

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Locally adapted concepts promote biodiversity in Europe’s forestry: new anthology published

Almost everywhere in Europe, forest biodiversity has decreased in recent decades. At the same time, the society’s expectations of the forest have increased. Therefore, many forest owners in Europe use the forest today in a way that, in addition to wood production, it also covers other demands of society. The recently published book on How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe summarizes the experience gained in balancing forestry and biodiversity protection.

The parallel existence of several forms of use, as in the case of numerous for instance Swiss or German forests, is what experts call “integrated forest management”. This multifunctional management approach requires those responsible for the forest to have a lot of experience and knowledge of ecological correlations.

To collect existing knowledge and experiences, a comprehensive anthology on “How to balance forestry and biodiversity conservation – A view across Europe” (free download here) has recently been published, edited by Frank Krumm and Andreas Riegling (Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research/WSL) as well as Andreas Schuck (EFI). The anthology was supported by the Swiss Federal Institute for the Environment (BAFU) and the German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture (BMEL). It contains the expertise in integrated forest management of more than 150 forest and nature conservation experts from 20 European countries. The knowledge acquired by different European partner organizations over the past three years provides, for the first time, a Europe-wide overview of how forests are managed in such a way that they simultaneously meet at least two requirements of society. In addition to wood production and biodiversity, drinking water protection, recreation or the protection of settlements and other infrastructures against erosion and natural hazards can also be important management goals.

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Ein zukunftsfähiges Waldkonzept entwickeln – das Projekt “Dauerwald”

Interview mit Hans von der Goltz

Hans von der Goltz ist Bundesvorsitzender der Arbeitsgemeinschaft Naturnahe Waldwirtschaft (ANW). Wir haben mit ihm über das neue ANW-Projekt “Dauerwald” gesprochen, über Chancen und Herausforderungen – und das Ziel, einen sowohl ökonomisch als auch ökologisch nachhaltigen Wald zu fördern.

Was ist eigentlich ein Dauerwald?

Ein Dauerwald ist ein Wald, in dem nicht nur verschiedene standortgerecht Baumarten, sondern auch Bäume unterschiedlichen Alters stehen. Er wird ohne Kahlschlag einzelbaumweise nach dem Prinzip der größtmöglichen Stetigkeit bewirtschaftet – Stetigkeit von Vorrat, Struktur, Zuwachs und ökologischen Grundlagen.

Warum brauchen wir Dauerwald?

Im Dauerwald führt relativ einheitliche Ausstattung aller „Waldetagen“ mit jungen, mittelalten und alten Bäumen zu Windruhe und zu einer deutlich höheren Luft- und Bodenfeuchte. Hierdurch werden Maximaltemperaturen gesenkt. Einzelne, besonders trocken- oder hitzeempfindliche Baumarten leiden natürlich auch, aber andere überdauern. Im Gegensatz zu wenig strukturierten Reinbeständen verschwindet bei den aktuellen Herausforderungen des Klimawandels nicht der ganze Wald, sondern eben nur einzelne Bäume. Der Wald bleibt erhalten – und das muss aktuell unser wichtigstes Ziel sein.

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