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WÄLDER & CO - Woods are important
Just to count the number of different forest animals can be an awesome job if you look at all the different kinds of animals: bugs, sparrows, birds, dust mites, bears, lichen, mushrooms, isopods and so on. Then can we depend on one or a few groups of animals to draw conclusions about the others? While the use of indicator is an accepted method, it is not clear how well these indicator work in forests in South Europe.
Do we request too much information from specimens? "that has just been released in Global Ecology and Biogeography, we have tried to find an explanation. If we think of pristine forest, many of us immediately go with our thoughts to the Sequoia forest in California, the beautiful Tasmanian hill country forest, or the vast groups of Amazonians.
Now, you will be amazed if you know that Europe is still home to some secret gems, forest areas where the traces of man's influence are negligible and where today's large veterinary tree was a young seedling during the Napoleonic Wars. Now, the good news is that we have at last charted these woods throughout Europe and have just released the results in the academic magazine Diversity and Distribution.
Even though my passion is for the moderate woods, the cooperation with Asunción Semper-Pascual led me for once (unfortunately only in a figurative sense) into the arid woods of the Argentinean Chaco, in order to research a very important question there: We have shown in the work just recently released in the Journal of Applied Ecology that we can do this.
Certain areas are luxuriant with a wealth of diverse vegetation, others are uniformly planted with only a few different plants. One recurring patterns is the decline in the number of fauna and flora types from the Equator to the Pole and from too low to high altitudes. If we do not consider the number of different types of fish, but concentrate on the variety of spectrum compositions (=beta diversity) and compare this variety across geographic areas, what happens?
Recently we released a new Ecography research to help us better comprehend how betadiversity fluctuates along height-gradient slopes. Similar to biodiversity, there is indication that betadiversity diminishes with height and width. There' been a bunch of activity in the old woods lately. Having spent the last two years gathering information about their spread in Europe (not only about the old way of growing to be sincere, but I don't want to re-open the Pandora terminology box), carrying out a huge literary search, disturbing hundred of forest professionals across the whole of the continent and setting up a web of scientists willing to divide their information, we think we can say one or two words on the subject.
Apparently, some agency, institution and NGOs are also beginning to realise that if you want to preserve Europe's last old forest, you have to know where it is. Therefore the NGO Wild Europe contacted us and asked us to participate in the conference on the conservation of old forests in Europe (Brussels, 13-14 September 2017).
Wild Europe defined this "conference for hands-on action". It is the intention to bring together all those interested in the conservation of old forest to reach agreement on operational measures that take into account all elements of an old forest conservation and restoration Agenda. Briefly, create a security policy and find a way to do it.
Wild Europe has therefore asked us to present our "Map of Europe's Primary Forests" during the event. Some predictions will be made about our results and we will wait for the publication of the research in the academic world. Surveying and cartographing primeval forest in Europe is not only an interesting research task or a nature protection priorit.
Areas such as the Carpathians, where a significant part of the primeval forest of Europe can still be found, are subject to the formal requirement to identify and protect primeval forest by an important interregional agreement. Article 10 of the Protocol on Sustainable Forestry states that "Each Party shall take steps within its own territories to identify and protect Carpathian and, in particular, Carpathian uncontaminated forests".
Against this background, FORESTS&CO's efforts to map the Carpathian Convention could not go unnoticed by the Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention (SCC). FAGUS was voted Project of the Month - January 2017 by the Ministry of the Environment of Italy and issued a long news bulletin summarising the goals, measures and successes of FAGUS. On Tuesday 11 October 2017, the employees of Radio Colonia, the broadcasting company of the Europe Broadcasting Centre in Italy, spoke to Sabina Burrascano, our fellow Sapienza member of the University of Rome, about the contents of our latest document entitled: "Current EU policy is unlikely to promote joint efforts to sequester CO2 and conserve biodiversity".