Communicating Forest Science

On 16-17 May 2018, European Forest Institute's Bonn Office participated in the 11. Bonner Wissenschaftsnacht (Bonn Science Night); a two-day event focused on the discussion of science with the broad public. The general topic was cycles, and and EFI Bonn was asked to present the European forest in times of climate change with a focus on how the forest can be used and protected (at the same time).

Between physicists, biologists, robotic engineers and archaeologists, the forest-based sector was introduced by EFI Bonn staff, working in shifts: Jose Bolaños (who also produced the visual material), Johanna Strieck, Jeanne Roux, Silvia Abruscato, Laura Nikinmaa, Dennis Roitsch and Jakob Derks.

On Thursday morning, a class from the August-Macke-School in Bonn came to visit. They were welcomed with a short introduction to EFI’s work, the forest sector and important current developments, both in Germany and Europe. The students were then divided in small groups to take a short multiple-choice quiz. Participants got an EFI wooden magnet as a reward for their efforts.


Johanna presenting EFI


Aim of the event was also to inform a broader public – usually concerned about the conservation of forests and critical towards forest management – about the possibility to sustainably use wood products and thereby contribute to climate change mitigation.

Visitors learned that environmentally unfriendly products like plastic and carbon could be replaced by wood-based material. To highlight this, EFI Bonn presented a table with examples to figure out which products from a set of pictures contain wood fibers and which ones do not. The outcomes surprised many people, who did not expect wood in products such as clothing, bioplastics, cosmetics and chewing gum.

Those looking for a more in-depth analysis were welcome to attend a presentation by Marcus Lindner, Principal Scientist of EFI’s Resilience Programme, in the beautiful University of Bonn main building. He talked about the role of the forest in mitigating climate change by explaining the carbon cycle between the forest and earth’s atmosphere.

The activities managed to reach people of the most varied ages and backgrounds, making it a very successful event. For some impressions, check out the short video we produced.