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Tag: Luxembourg

A week in the life of a marteloscopist

The morning sky is still pitch black when the alarm goes off. I wake up in a hotel room on a grey busy rainy road in a post-industrial town in southern Luxembourg. Hitting the snooze button is not an option; daylight is scarce in late November and we should really reach the forest at dawn. There is still time for a sad corona-proof breakfast though, that is to be consumed in the hotel room. Crackers, instant coffee, jam, all individually packed in plastic of course. What is good for hygiene is not necessarily good for the environment.

Before sunrise, my colleague and I get to the site of our next marteloscope. The morning fog reduces the visibility to almost nothing, but luckily our memory manages to lead us back to the place we had visited with the local forester a month earlier. Despite the dense undergrowth we had managed to survey the perimeter of the square one-hectare stand in October, but not without cutting much of the regeneration along the borders that were obstructing the view and the functioning of our measurement equipment. A tedious effort, but one less task this week. Last time the foliage was still too dense to measure heights or spot tree microhabitats. Now that most of the leaves have fallen, we can continue the inventory. Yesterday we were still in the far north of this little country, to finish precisely those tasks for the previous site. Now we are ready to wrap up the inventory of the final marteloscope in Luxembourg.

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Once upon a time… there was a marteloscope.

Stories of integrated forest management in Luxembourg

During times when polarisation seems to be on the rise on many levels, a growing number of forest managers is choosing to do the opposite and to bridge differences instead. The Integrate Network has since 2016 been exchanging information on forest management ideas that combine wood production with nature conservation, a feat which may sound contradictory to some but in many cases offers plenty of advantages compared to a segregated approach. The members, governmental organizations from 18 different European countries, reflect a diverse view on forestry, characterised by a variety of factors that differ from one region to another. The common theme is the belief that production and protection do not have to exclude each other, quite the opposite.

The open exchange of experiences in the Integrate Network is increasingly attracting interest, not only from policy makers but also from practitioners. The network of marteloscopes serves to demonstrate and visualise potential trade-offs between economy and ecology on a stand level, allowing on-field training for everyone with a professional or non-professional interest in forest management.

It is always exciting when new marteloscope sites are added to the steadily expanding list, but even more so when a new country decides to join the network. This was the case for the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in 2019. ProSilva and the Nature and Forest Administration of Luxembourg contacted EFI to set up its first marteloscopes. As a Belgian I had been in Luxembourg several times before but still the beauty and the diversity of the landscapes of this small country never seize to amaze me.

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