EFI Network Fund 1st call

Five proposals were successful in the first Network Fund call.

ENGAGING – Engaging owners of small private forests in active management

Coordinator: Robert Jandl, Austrian Forest Research Center, Austria

ENGAGING summary 2020 (pdf)

In Europe the forest area of owners of small forests is underutilized. The consequences are (i) a shortage of resource for the bio-economy, (ii) uncertainty with respect to delivery of ecosystem services, and (iii) inconsistent monitoring and assessment of forest health.

As a consequence of structural change, societies develop towards urbanization and the area of unmanaged or insufficiently managed forests is increasing. From a forestry viewpoint the trend is problematic and many regional and national stakeholder groups are taking efforts to engage the owners of small forests in active management, assuming that forest management is the trigger for the provision of the aforementioned functions (i) to (iii). The obstacles are well known: managing small forests yields insignificant income, non-expert forest owners have unclear expectations on forest management and lack of knowledge on the required techniques.

The efforts of engaging owners of small forests are nationally and internationally only partially coordinated and only partially successful. Our intention is to identify the more and the less successful attempts, analyze the reasons for success or failure, and derive recommendations for regionally relevant campaigns for the engagement of small scale forest owners in forest management.

ENGAGING launched two competitions to art students at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, to produce short movies (max 3 minutes) addressing forest information related topics. The movies were not to use language.

The ranked results of the first competition:

Pius Hagenauer: Treasure in a Box
Lea Mair: The Urban Jungle
Sara Anzola: Forest Engine
Luise Lutz: The Ticking Tree

FORMASAM – Forest Management Scenarios for Adaptation and Mitigation

Coordinator: Christopher Reyer, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany

FORMASAM summary 2020 (pdf)

Project outcomes.

Forest ecosystems and their products and services play an important role to achieve ambitious climate change mitigation but also have to adapt to climate change. Forest management schemes to support climate action have to be developed within their regional context but also have to be aligned with national or EU-level climate, forest and sustainability policies. Process-based forest models can assess the future provisioning of forest products by simulating different management options allowing to assess the production of wood products/woodfuels and forest resilience under climate change.

FORMASAM develops future forest management scenarios that are consistent from the stand across the landscape to the continental level, allowing to explore climate mitigation and adaptation options for the European bioeconomy. These management scenarios will then be integrated into modelling studies. The first Task Group designs future forest management scenarios involving national experts from the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE) Team of Specialists and the subsequent three TGs operationalize these scenarios for stand, landscape and continental scale models. FORMASAM brings together modellers and forest management experts from all over Europe including eastern and south-eastern European experts facing very specific management challenges. The combined expertise of FORMASAM enables developing forest management scenarios that focus on increasing forest resilience and contributing to the bioeconomy to provide input into future forest sector outlook studies such as the UNECE Forest Sector Outlook Study and also support the updating of the “Intended Nationally Determined Contributions” (INDC) of the EU and its member states for the Paris Agreement.

FORSCEE – The future of a forest-based bioeconomy in Central-Eastern and South-Eastern Europe

Coordinator: Bernhard Wolfslehner, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna, Austria

FORSCEE summary 2020 (pdf)

FORSCEE strives to activate the potential of the Central-Eastern and South-Eastern European region to develop towards a forest-based bioeconomy. There is a central notion that this region is lagging behind in the development of bioeconomy strategies, and there is still a deficit in the connectivity of the research community. FORSCEE wants to overcome both aspects: stipulate a high-level policy support activity for forest-based bioeconomy, and engaging the research network in the region to work in a proven EFI context.

The goals of the project are to (i) initiate a discourse on a forest-based bioeconomy in the CEE and SEE regions, (ii) to connect science and policy in a tailor-made form for the region, (iii) to mobilise the EFI network to provide sound policy support for bioeconomy development in the region, (iv) to encourage exchange on experiences and obstacles for further pursuing bioeconomy strategies from science to policy, (v) to facilitate a high-level policy support for the region in a central regional bioeconomy event.

FOSPREF-Wind – Wind risk to European forests under climate change

Coordinator: Tom Locatelli, Forest Research, UK

Project website.

Increasing levels of forest wind damage have been observed in the past 15 years in previously relatively unaffected areas of Europe (e.g. Northern Iberia, Poland, and Latvia). Similarly, the seasonality of damaging events appears to be changing, with strong summer storms becoming more common. These issues indicate that statistical models of wind damage are likely to fail in the face of a changing climate. Using process-based models allows for portability in space and time, to different locations and for uncertain climatic conditions.

European expertise in wind damage follows the historical geographical distribution of wind damage: forest productivity in northern countries has been affected for decades and mechanistic models such as ForestGALES have been developed in these countries to aid forest management practices. An ideal way of transferring this knowledge to countries exposed to increasing wind risk is provided by the recent developments in the availability of FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) programming languages. These have prompted forest researchers to translate many of their models into FOSS languages such as R. The possibility now exists of coupling FOSS process-based forest growth and risk models within a FOSS GIS platform provided by the rapid development of QuantumGIS in recent years, thus removing operational and economic barriers between organisations. The commercial importance and widespread European distribution of species of the Pinus genus makes this an ideal candidate to test and apply a spatially explicit FOSS platform for the modelling of forest wind damage in a changing climate.

PerForm - Perceiving the Forest-based Sector in the Bioeconomy

Coordinator: Daniela Kleinschmit, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Germany

PerForm summary 2020 (pdf)

Political strategies worldwide, present bioeconomy as the way towards a new and sustainable economy. The forest sector and wood-based sector promises to be an important building block for the bioeconomy. However, there are major challenges in implementing a forest-based bioeconomy: (i) disparities in meaning and expanding the European bioeconomy between European countries; (ii) limited knowledge about whether and how forest stakeholders (across Europe and Russia) perceive the forest-based bioeconomy and (iii) an information gap about whether and how urban consumers perceive the (forest-based) bioeconomy and how this differs across Europe and Russia.

Therefore, the aim of PerForm is to better understand regional disparities of national bioeconomy policies and the perceptions of a forest-based bioeconomy. We explore the diversity of perceptions and acceptance of a forest-based bioeconomy in Europe in order to foster participation of different forest stakeholders and the broader public through an informed and open dialogue. The highly experienced social scientists in the field of forest-bioeconomy involved in PerForm analyze perceptions of various stakeholder groups across Europe (Germany, Austria, Slovakia, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland) and Russia. Methodologically, we build extensively on qualitative document analysis, stakeholder interviews and innovative communication tools.

Open-access online course “Bioeconomy and Society”

PerForm launched the first-ever open-access online course (MOOC) about social aspects of the forest-bioeconomy. The course content is based on the network’s expertise and the project research results. The course is continuously available over the platform FutureLearn for students of all levels, as well as lay people interested in the forest-bioeconomy topic. To date, over 1,130 persons enrolled in this course and it received a 4.5 from a 5-star rating. 
Link to the MOOC: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/society-and-bioeconomy

Download the list of publications and student theses