In the beautiful autumn forest in Vosges du Nord – Forêt de Bitche, France, we organized a training session with 44 foresters from public and private forests on 18th and 19th of October 2018. The Marteloscope ‘Falkenberg’ was set up in the course of European Forest Institute’s Integrate+ project, and it is located on state forest land in a Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park (French part of the Transboundary Biosphere Reserve Vosges du Nord–Pfälzerwald). 60%, or 76.283 ha of the park are covered by forest, composed of 58% broadleaves and 42% conifers.
One main conservation objective in that nature reserve is to increase forest naturalness. This is achieved by designating strictly protected areas and preserving or restoring forest composition and potential habitats in managed forests.
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).
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.