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Tag: resilience

Forest landscapes as functional networks: Novel approaches to manage for resilience

Article by Marco Mina

Some time ago we discussed how viewing and analyzing forest landscapes as functional complex networks could be a promising approach to increase ecological resilience to global uncertainty. Now, two new studies show how this could be applied in differently structured landscapes.

Our blue marble planet is one single interconnected organism. From plants to pollinators, preys to predators, climate to primary production, Earth’s natural ecosystems have evolved for million years to build complex and balanced interactions. Forest landscapes are also complex ecological networks, which can be depicted in many ways depending on the scale of observation. For example, if we take a look at a satellite image of a rural area (e.g., an administrative region in Germany or in southern Canada), we will immediately recognize patches of forests fragmented by agricultural crops, roads, powerlines or human settlements. In other areas, forest might cover a larger proportion of the land, resulting in a more continuous matrix. In both cases, a series of interconnected relation exists among tree species, stands, and forest patches allowing the maintenance of vital functions of such ecological system.

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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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Kleine Superhelden im Kampf gegen das Eichensterben

In Deutschland gibt es sie schon seit der Antike, Hölderlin und Herder haben über sie gedichtet, und seit dem 18. Jahrhundert gilt sie als der “deutsche Nationalbaum”: Zweifellos hat die Eiche für die Menschen in Deutschland eine besondere Bedeutung. Auch im Klimawandel wird ihr eine wichtige Rolle zugeschrieben. Gleichzeitig ist sie vor allem durch Schädlinge Risiken ausgesetzt, die ihre Widerstandsfähigkeit gefährden. Wie man dieses “Eichensterben” mit natürlichen Mitteln bekämpfen kann, untersucht seit Kurzem ein neues Projekt von Wald und Holz NRW, das von der Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. (FNR) gefördert wird. Auch das European Forest Institute gehört zu den Projektpartnern. Ich habe Bernhard Tapken, der im Projekt “Eichenresilienz” arbeitet, einige Fragen gestellt.

Was ist das Ziel des Projektes “Eichenresilienz”?

Das Ziel des von Wald und Holz Nordrhein-Westfalen geleiteten Projektes ist es die Widerstandsfähigkeit der heimischen Eichenarten, Stiel- und Traubeneiche, zu untersuchen und Wege aufzuzeigen diese natürliche Resilienz zu fördern. Wir untersuchen dabei, wie man die sogenannte „Eichenfraßgesellschaft“ erfolgreich mit natürlichen Gegenspielern bekämpfen kann.

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Navigating the World of Resilience

As the Resilience Programme of the European Forest Institute, we are looking for evidence-based ways to improve resilience in the European forests. However, a brief discussion in the office revealed that even among our staff there are almost as many interpretations of resilience as there are staff-members. We needed to have a clearer understanding on what resilience means in the context of forestry.

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Bushfires, Wildfires and Damaging fires – Rinse and Repeat or Risk Reduction and Resilience?

Dr. Peter F. Moore, Forestry Officer, Forest Fire Management & Disaster Risk Reduction, in the FAO-Forestry Department originates from Australia and posted the following statement in response to the ongoing wildfire crisis:

“In January 1994 there were four fire related deaths, hundreds of thousands of hectares burnt and fingers of fire crept into the city of Sydney.

  • Parliament, the cabinet and the coroner held inquiries and released reports on the reasons, causes of death and the possible means of avoiding the same problems in the future.

On Christmas Day 2001, the concerns of fire authorities in New South Wales were realised – in full measure. The lead-up to summer conditions had been drier than normal. December 25, 2001 was hot with temperatures well over 30C; very low humidity of less than 15 per cent; and winds from the west. These bush fires burnt nearly 700,000ha, with 115 houses and many other buildings destroyed and scores of others damaged.

  • And Parliament and the coroner held inquiries and released reports on the reasons and the causes …
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“Watching trees grow, shrink, drink and breathe”

“This oak tree and me, we’re made of the same stuff, ” Carl Sagan, one of the most inspiring science communicators of the 20th Century once said. But what did he mean?

Probably, he thought of Darwin and his famous universal tree of life, that was used not only as a metaphor, but also as a model and research tool. Furthermore, by choosing an oak tree as a comparison, Sagan might have referred to himself being strong, tall, long-standing. More generally, his quote could refer to the ancient relationship of human beings and the forest. And finally, Carl Sagan obviously used a personification to relate to the tree, to “humanize” it – a common approach in science communication.

By “humanizing” nature, we create empathy. That is one reason why German forester Peter Wohlleben’s book “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate—” was so successful. However, Wohlleben is quite controversially discussed among both foresters and scientists. “Not scientific enough,” researchers say. “Too emotional,” forest practitioners complain.

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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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Resilience: one-off vs continuous disturbance

In an effort to foster a definition of resilience in the forestry field, we decided to establish a series of interviews introducing scientists who deal with this term every day. Today meet Elena Cantarello. She is a lecturer in sustainability science and conducts research on the dynamics and thresholds of ecosystem services at Bournemouth University, e.g. by measuring the resilience of forests in terms of recovery, resistance and net change after climate change, disease outbreak and extensive animal grazing.

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