What if I told you that there’s an industry that relies on the customer’s free-of-charge labour for the selection of products to be sold, the production itself as well as quality management, and that this industry is even able to sell the ‘products’ produced this way to the same customers for an exorbitant price and earning a huge profit?
Inventorying and mapping virgin forests in Europe is not just an interesting research exercise, or a conservation priority. In regions such as the Carpathians, where a considerable fraction of European virgin forest still can be found, the identification and protection of primary forests is formally required by an important regional international treaty. We’re referring to the Carpathian Convention. Signed in May 2003 by seven Carpathian States (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovak Republic, Ukraine), the Carpathian Convention recognizes at the Art. 10 of the Protocol on Sustainable Forest management that ‘Each Party shall take measures in its national territory aimed at identifying and protecting natural, especially virgin forests of the Carpathians […]’. In this context, the mapping effort of FORESTS&CO could not pass unobserved by the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention (SCC).
Venacquaro Valley, Gran Sasso National Park. Ph. D. Di Santo
Here’s another piece of news relative the LIFE+ project – FAGUS, a project I collaborated with from 2013-2015. The Italian Ministry of the Environment elected FAGUS as Project of the Month – Jan 2017, and published a long press release summarizing objectives, actions and achievements of FAGUS.
The press release can be found at the url (only in Italian, unfortunately):
Is there the risk that European carbon policies may threaten grassland biodiversity? In the paper we raised the concern that carbon centered policies favouring one land-use (i.e. forest) over another (e.g. semi-natural grasslands) may not only fail at delivering the expected environmental benefits, but also create severe shortcomings, when biodiversity or other unique ecosystem services are considered. Given the context of high scientific uncertainty, we asked, what’s the situation in Europe? Do the current environmental policy acknowledge these uncertainties and balance coherently different environmental goals?
I have already mentioned the FAGUS project in a previous post (“The mess of sampling biodiversity”, where I described the results we obtained when analyzing the pre-intervention biodiversity data, as they are published in the paper (open access):
We’ve recently come back from the Bieszczady Mountains, a mountain range that runs from the extreme south-east of Poland through Ukraine and Slovakia, and is part of the Outer Eastern Carpathians. For those who believe that not much wilderness remains in Europe, then I warmly recommend a visit to these places. Bears, big packs of wolves and herds of free-ranging bisons, all can be encountered in the forests and meadow in the area, as long as one is willing to get up before the birds and wait patiently in one of the little wood hunting towers spread in the area.
Observing the wilderness, however, was not the only reason why us, the Conservation Biogeography Lab took our students there. Indeed, the Bieszczady Mts are a great place to get some hands-on experience on how to collect field data in biogeography, as this is the core of the Field Methods in Biogeography class, taught yearly by Prof. Tobias Kuemmerle and Laura Kehoe.
What’s impressive about the Bieszczady Mts is how they put you in touch with both Nature and History, and how the two combined into a great land-use science experiment.
Forest ecosystems are extremely complex. They host a wide spectrum of organisms (biologists call them taxa) that together compose their biodiversity assets. Plants, mammals, lichens, insects, fungi, birds, anura (frogs), oligochaetes (worms), spiders, mites, cyanobacteria, there is a lot of life out there and biologists struggle to get a complete picture of the whole set of species that could be find in a given forest stand. It is a fact, sampling biodiversity requires time, money and expertise which are not always available. Nevertheless, if we want to correctly prioritize our conservation and restoration efforts, we require a thorough understanding of the spatial distribution of biodiversity.
The Questionnaire phase of FORESTS and CO is now over.
FORESTS and CO is a collaborative project in which forest researchers and experts work together to make relevant, European-scale analysis on the potential trade-offs between multiple objectives of forest management. In this first phase, we collected information on the spatial distribution of primary forest remnants in the European region (continental Europe with the exception of Russia). Click here for the definitions of ‘Primary forest remnant’
What a better occasion to thank all the participants that contributed with their expertise and helped us understand what kind of data exists how to gather it!
In total we invited 134 people from 32 different European countries. The countries with the the highest share of people contacted were: Germany, Romania, Finland, Czech Republic and Italy.
The rate of response was impressive. When accounting for both the responses to the questionnaires and the informal feedbacks, we were contacted by 65 forest researchers and experts, a ratio of response close to 50%. The countries from which we received the highest share of responses were Czech Republic, Greece, Italy, Germany and Romania. Continue reading “Thanks for your contribution”→
Why focusing on wild boar in a blog that talks about forests?
The point is that the populations of wild boar (Sus scrofa) in Europe have grown substantially in recent decades, not to mention Central Italy, where the study is focused. Indeed, this species is able to adapt to different environments, and for sure, it was highly favoured by a combination of reintroduction for hunting purposes, increasing tree mast frequency (climate change?), insufficient hunting pressure, and lack of predators.