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Tag: sustainable forest management

Unlocking the secrets of forests as carbon sinks: innovative tools to measure forests’ climate mitigation potential

How can we maximise the carbon stocks and carbon sequestration potential of forests – by managing or not managing them? And how can carbon Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) be made effective and affordable as part of the proposed EU Carbon Removal Certification Framework regulation?

Sofie Van Winckel and Arne Van Wolputte, researchers at KU Leuven, are on a journey to answer these questions using various high-tech tools, including the Arboreal App, an iPad with LIDAR and a computer model based on satellite and field data. Read on and join them in uncovering the secrets of climate mitigation in the INFORMA project’s case studies!

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How can the EU double its forests’ climate change mitigation impact by 2050? New Horizon Europe project INFORMA to provide answers

Forests can act as carbon sinks or emitters, as made clear by this summer’s catastrophic forest fires that ravaged southwestern France and the Iberian Peninsula. The devastating events following August’s record heatwave resulted in Europe’s highest wildfire emissions in 15 years. Only in the region of Valencia, Spain, the fires released more than 1 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, equivalent to the annual emissions of all private cars in the three capital cities of the province: Castellón, Valencia and Alicante.

Although climate change played a major role in the catastrophe, the fires were aggravated by rural exodus, which led to the abandonment of forest management in the area and to the accumulation of flammable vegetation, explains José Vicente Oliver, professor at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV).

In cooperation with EFI, Oliver and his team are looking for ways to prepare the EU’s forests for future climate scenarios and realise their full carbon absorption potential by mainstreaming Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) into more conventional management practices. In the new Horizon Europe project INFORMA, EFI, UPV and other partners are tackling crucial questions around SFM that remain partially unanswered by science, unaddressed by policies and unexplored by most carbon offsetting schemes. How can we manage existing forests in different European biogeographic regions for enhanced carbon capture while ensuring the provision of other ecosystem services such as biodiversity conservation and wood production? Where and how should we grow new forests, and which species should be used? How can we adapt and increase forests’ resilience to more frequent disturbances such as drought, fires, windstorms and pests?

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Exploring Romanian forests – an unexpected journey

by Silke Jacobs, Sara Filipek, Gert-Jan Nabuurs & Bas Lerink

‘Timber Mafia’, ‘Notorious corruption’ and ‘Destruction of last virgin forests’. News articles about Romanian forests and their management are dominated by headlines like these or with a likewise tendency. But we were wondering: Is that really the only thing we should know about Romanian forests? Or are there also examples of good and sustainable forest management – as well as protection of primary forests? 

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Forests’ potential for climate change mitigation: Buildings as a global carbon sink

by Christopher Reyer (PIK)

How can forests and their products and services best contribute to climate change mitigation? This is probably the most controversial question one can currently ask when discussing the role of forests to combat climate change – and even scientists tend to disagree here. Some say we should manage our forest and use wood for construction to create a long-term carbon sink. Or produce even more wood to replace plastics and fossil-based materials, which is called circular bioeconomy. Others suggest just the opposite: we should not manage our forests – or if we do, we should not concentrate on wood production but mainly focus on our forests’ potential for biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration.

All approaches have benefits and trade-offs, considering that our natural resources, including our forests, are limited. That being sad, I would like to focus in this article on the potential of using wood and wood-based products for construction to mitigate climate change, based on a paper on Buildings as a global carbon sink that we – a multidisciplinary group of researchers from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and from Yale University – have published 2020 in Nature Sustainability. When looking at global developments, including discussions at the COP in Glasgow, results from the paper are still very valid – and further scientific and practical exploration is needed, since the world’s population is increasing, and climate change mitigation efforts will be challenged by people’s need for shelter.

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A city for forests: new forest-related organisation moved to Bonn

Bonn has been the European Forest City 2020, and since the beginning of 2021 the City is now hosting another forest-related organisation, the international secretariat of FOREST EUROPE.

FOREST EUROPE Logo
FOREST EUROPE Logo

FOREST EUROPE, founded on 18 December 1990, is a high-level political process that involves ministers responsible for forests from 46 countries and the European Union (including observers from 14 additional countries and 45 organisations). The main objectives are to develop common strategies to strengthen sustainable forest management in the Pan-European domain and find proper responses to current forest policy challenges. It builds upon FOREST EUROPE’s definition of sustainable forest management and employs criteria and indicators as data basis of the Pan-European forest report (State of Europe’s Forests). As part of the process, members make decisions of highest political relevance regarding forests, forest management and socio-political topics aiming at safeguarding ecological, social and economic benefits of European forests.

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“Naturschutz geht nicht ohne den Verzicht durch den Menschen” – Interview mit Förster Andreas Pommer

Andreas Pommer ist Leiter des Forstrevier Eibenstock im Staatsbetrieb Sachsenforst. Das Revier Eibenstock ist ein Mittelgebirgsrevier im Erzgebirge mit einem Fichtenanteil im Oberstand von über 90%, mit einer leidvollen Geschichte, die durch die Rauchschäden und durch das Rotwildstaatsjagdgebiet der 1970er–1980er Jahre und einem hohen Schadholzanteil in der Vergangenheit geprägt wurde. In “seinem” Wald hat es sich Andreas Pommer seit etwa 15 Jahren zum Ziel gemacht, Waldwirtschaft und Naturschutz miteinander zu vereinbaren – mit naturgemäßem Waldbau, Waldumbau hin zu strukturreichen, gemischten Wäldern. Eine wichtige Rolle spielen auch Totholz, Biotopbäume, Hochstubben, Moorrevitalisierungen, Bachtalrenaturierungen, Anlage von Kleingewässern, Waldinnen- und -außenrandgestaltung sowie Nisthilfen. Teilweise nutzt Pommer auch innovative Methoden wie Marteloskope, um für Naturschutz zu sensibilisieren. Deswegen hat die Zeitschrift “Forstpraxis” ihn auch für 2020 für den Titel “Förster des Jahres” vorgeschlagen. Wir haben mit Andreas Pommer ein persönliches Gespräch über Herausforderungen für die Forstwirtschaft in Zeiten des Klimawandels und wachsender Erwartungen an den Wald geführt – und über potentielle “integrative” Lösungsansätze, wie wir möglichst viele Waldfunktionen integrieren und unseren Wald langfristig und gesund erhalten können.

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Integrating nature protection into forest management the Danish way

Did you know that Denmark has a relatively low forest cover of 14 percent, but nonetheless has great ambitions regarding the ecosystem services they wish those forests to provide? All the more reason to understand more about how they integrate different forest functions into forest management.

I had the chance to find out more about Danish sustainable forest management – or Close-to-Nature Silviculture, as the Danes would call their particular brand – when I participated in the most recent meeting of the European Network INTEGRATE , which is currently chaired by the Danish Nature Agency.

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