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Tag: SURE

Towards improved disturbance risk management in European forests: serving the needs and building on positive experiences of different countries

Day 2 of the SURE conference

Where are shortcomings in effective disturbance risk management in different European Countries? How can we move from often short-term decisions to long-term oriented disturbance mitigation and resource use in policy-making and practice to create a more resilient forest sector? How can the various actors involved in implementing measures for prevention and preparedness be better supported in view of future disturbance events? How do both policy makers and practitioners assess the importance of cross-sectoral and cross-country knowledge exchange and learning?

We discussed these questions with more than 40 policy makers and some practitioners from 17 countries on the 27th of August as part of the second day of the virtual conference of the SURE project. A Policy Brief distributed beforehand, provided a synthesis on natural disturbance risk management based on science, practice and policy perspectives. The key messages from the first day of the conference were also an inspiration for the discussion: Alex Giurca presented a graphic reporting capturing the issues discussed on day 1. Christoph Hartebrodt, based on his knowledge on the European Forest Risk Facility initiative, provided another perspective on the topics covered. After presenting the activities and research done during three years of SURE, an interactive session with policy perspectives on risk management paradigms gathered views from Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the Czech Republic. 

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Enhancing resilience of forests to disturbances – why networks are essential. Day 1 of the SURE conference.

“Collaboration is key to enhance forest resilience.” This was the opening message given by Marcus Lindner (project coordinator of SURE) when introducing the SURE conference and the European Forest Risk Facility on the 26th of August. During this first day, more than 70 participants joined the conference, from 25 different countries, representing science, practice and policy. Seven presenters from the European Forest Risk Facility network reflected upon the significance of collaboration highlighting the importance of immediate response, exchange of experts, prevention, networking, and media interaction to raise public awareness. The whole conference was supported by the graphic reporting of Alex Giurca who combined the skills of a note taker and artist to provide a visual and captivating representation of the conference. Such tools are a creative and immediate support to decision making providing an illustration and key messages of complex presentations and discussions.

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Registration open: SURE final conference: “Collaboration – key to forest disturbance management in a new decade”

The European Forest Institute kindly invites you to the conference “Collaboration – key to forest disturbance management in a new decade”, taking place on 26-27 August 2020. Join the virtual conference to hear about best practice examples and lessons learned in disturbance management from Forest Risk Facility network members!

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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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Networks of trust – the foundation for wildfire management

Written by Laura Nikinmaa & Maria Schlossmacher

Imagine having a team of chefs cooking Eggs Benedict. One of them has only ever made omelets; the other one has all the ingredients but no recipe. The third one knows how to do it, but they have been forbidden to cook anything else than scrambled eggs by the owner of the restaurant. On top of everything, they are not talking to one another because they are all competing for promotion. The outcome? You guessed it, anything but Eggs Benedict, the restaurant owner is enraged, and none of the chefs gets a promotion.

While the restaurant world is known to be fiery, the actual world of wildfires is straight up in flames. We have seen abnormally active fire season in 2019 in many countries. Poland had almost three times more fires compared to the 10-year average this year, Germany more than five times more, and France more than seven times more (EFFIS). The cherry on top was the United Kingdom, which had eight times more fires in 2019 than in the 10-year average. It was therefore fitting that the SURE project workshop (“pro-active fire management”) was organized back to back with the England and Wales Wildfire Forum’s (EWWF) Wildfire Conference from 20th to 22nd of November in Cardiff, Wales. The EWWF conference had more than 180 participants from 14 different countries, out of which almost 50 stayed to participate in the SURE workshop on the 22nd. The theme of the conference was “Manage the fuel – Reduce the Risk”. The speakers consisted of experts from practice and research, from fire and rescue services to forest administrates, and the topics varied from practical examples to the latest knowledge we have on wildfire behavior.

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EFI as chartered member of PyroLife

Deadly wildfires in the past two years and the heatwave we are facing throughout in Europe this year are a glimpse of what to expect in the future. Therefore, the European Union has granted 4 million Euro for PyroLife, a project in which framework a new generation of experts will be trained in integrated fire management. We are happy to announce that we will take part in the newly established project.

PyroLife is the first integrated doctoral training programme on wildfires globally and will train 15 PhD candidates across Europe, coordinated by Wageningen University & Research.

Within this project, the European Forest Institute will supervise one PhD student and further offers various fire related trainings through the SURE project.

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Springtime in flames

and Alexander Held

What had already been predicted in 2018, became true.

Spring is too warm and too dry, again. The year 2019 had a hot start: during the first four months, more areas have been burned than during the entire 2018 across Europe. The Joint Research Centre’s European Forest Fire Information System (EFFIS) of the EU Science Hub recorded 1233 fires corresponding to a burned area of more than 250 000 ha by the end of April. In comparison, there were 1192 fires burning 181 000 ha during the whole 2018.

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New winds in dealing with forest disturbances

For a young professional in the field of forestry, reading the news nowadays is a schizophrenic experience. On one hand, I’m scared to death with the heat waves and drought occurring at odd times of the year, continuously increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, alien species invasions in new areas and massive insect outbreaks in various parts of Europe.  On the other hand, it is very exciting and hopeful: climate change awareness is increasing, and actions are being taken, wood product innovations are replacing many fossil-fuel based ones, and biodiversity conservation measures are adopted by many forest managers. Nevertheless, we are facing a serious situation that cannot be fixed with few tricks. With the disturbance frequency and intensity increasing all the time, we need to revise how we manage the risks they are causing to our forests.

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Wuthering heights – how to manage storms in forests?

by Andreas Schuck, Alexander Held, Christoph Hartebrodt, Laura Nikinmaa, and Jakob Hörl
When storms are expected to become more frequent and violent, how can we ensure a flourishing future for our forests and the people who depend on them? This was one of the main questions that the SURE project workshop “Res2Storm – pan-European Workshop on Wind, Storms, and Forests” aimed at answering. The objective was to map operational tools and processes for coping with storm events along the crisis management cycle. Emphasis was given to the phases ‘recovery’, ‘prevention/mitigation’ and ‘preparedness’, not neglecting adequate ‘response’. The workshop was hosted by Christoph Hartebrodt and his team from the Forest Research Institute of Baden-Württemberg (FVA) in Freiburg, Germany, on the 11-12th of October 2018. It was the first in a series of thematic workshops within the SURE project dealing with forest risks. It brought together 35 participants from 13 European countries with backgrounds in science, policy and practice.

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SURE Projekt "on tour": Waldbrand-Reise nach Brandenburg

von Martin Schmitt, Andreas Schuck und Alexander Held
Zwei der zahlreichen Brände in der Saison 2018 erfuhren besondere Aufmerksamkeit: Treuenbrietzen und Fichtenwalde bei Beelitz in Südbrandenburg. In Treuenbrietzen mussten drei Ortschaften geräumt. In Fichtenwalde wurde es notwendig, zwei Autobahnen (A9/A10) zu sperren. Die Situation wurde zusätzlich dadurch erschwert, dass beide Waldbrandflächen munitionsbelastet waren.
Im Rahmen einer Schulung für die “Berliner Feuerwehr Einsatzbereitschaft 4” waren wir (Andreas Schuck und Alexander Held vom EFI) in Berlin-Brandenburg unterwegs.

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