About Us

What is the Integrate Network?

The Integrate Network Multi-Donor Trust Fund – short: Integrate Network – is an alliance of representatives of different European countries that promotes the integration of nature conservation into sustainable forest management at the policy, practice and research level. Forest management challenges related to nature conservation are rather similar across Europe. The Integrate Network promotes the exchange of successful management practices and experiences amongst its Members. The European Forest Institute (EFI) accompanies the process in its role as secretariat and by gathering scientific and practical evidence on the successful application, training, and communication of integrative forest management approaches.

History

The Integrate Network was initially brought into life in 2016 by the German Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Christian Schmidt, and his Czech colleague, Marian Jurečka (see link on the left for Prague Declaration), and subsequently supported by the European Commission’s Standing Forestry Committee. In May 2022, the Integrate Network became the Integrate Network Multi-Donor Trust Fund.

Secretariat

Bernhard Wolfslehner

Bernhard Wolfslehner

Head of Secretariat

Dr. Bernhard Wolfslehner is the Head of Governance Programme of the European Forest Institute (EFI) and has more than 20 years of research experience on sustainable forest management. Among other tasks, he is leader of the EFI FOREST EUROPE team and Head of the Secretariat of the INTEGRATE network.

Maria Schlossmacher

Maria Schlossmacher

Communications Officer

Maria Schloßmacher has been working in communications at the European Forest Institute since 2019. Before joining EFI, she worked in areas of international cooperation, policy-making and sustainability which sharpened her view of the principal role of the local level and the importance of integrative approaches in a global context.

Andreas Schuck

Andreas Schuck

Senior Researcher

Andreas holds an MSc in Forest Science from Freiburg University, Germany. He has been working on forest biodiversity conservation, forest risks caused by natural disturbances and forest resilience management.

Gesche Schifferdecker

Gesche Schifferdecker

Communications Manager

A passionate and experienced science communicator, Gesche Schifferdecker joined EFI’s Bonn office in 2017 to lead the Communications Team. She is responsible for managing dissemination and communication activities for international, European and national research projects and engaging with diverse stakeholders from science, policy, forestry practice and society. Gesche is a political scientist by background and started to work in science communications more than 15 years ago.

Chairs

The rotating chairmanship provides chair countries with the initiative to take up relevant topics during their chairmanship. A core activity of the network is to invite members to the host country for meetings and visits to the forest. The voluntary approach allows each member country to gear up or down according to relevance and resources thus, creating a dynamic network facing current discussions and actions on forest biodiversity in different corners of Europe.

  • Current Chair

    Austria (2024)

  • Future chair

    Ireland (2025)

  • Former chairs

    Luxembourg (2022-2023)

    Spain (2021-2022)

    Switzerland (2020-2021)

    Denmark (2019-2020)

    Poland (2018-2019)

    Czech Republic (2017-2018)

    Germany (2016-2017)

Current Projects

LifeSpan

Saproxylic Habitat Network: planning and management for European forests (EU Life+ project; ongoing)

The project aims to demonstrate an innovative and economically sustainable forest planning and management approach to conserve biodiversity and increase structural heterogeneity in productive forests of the Natura 2000 network, applicable in other productive forests as well, through the implementation of specially designed management plans. Education, training and life-long learning are an essential part of Life Span. For also three demonstration sites (marteloscopes) were established by EFI, two in Cansiglio Forest in Italy and one in the Würzburg University Forest near Sailershausen, Germany. Using the Integrate tablet-based software virtual developed by EFI, silvicultural interventions can be performed in these marteloscopes. Intervention results are immediately displayed and thus allow discussion on how different approaches may affect biodiversity, economic return or dead wood amounts in the forest stand. 

OptFORESTS

Harnessing forest genetic resources for increasing options in the face of environmental and societal challenges (EU Horizon Europe project; ongoing)

EFI is involved in the task on selective thinning trade-offs on genetic diversity and adaptive capacity. In this context a ‘genetics’  module for the I+ Trainer software is being developed building on key input parameters obtained from experts in forest genetic research. It will be tested and applied in selected, existing Integrate Network marteloscope sites. 

Multipliers

Multiplayers’ partnerships to ensure meaningful engagement with science and research (EU H2020 project; ongoing)

The MULTIPLIERS project is establishing novel Open Science Communities (OSCs), expanding opportunities for science learning in collaboration with schools, universities, informal education providers, museums, local associations, industry, civil society, policymakers and media across six European countries. Topics addressed including besides vaccination, antimicrobial resistance, clean water and sanitation, biodiversity and agriculture and air pollution as nature use vs. forest protection and biodiversity and ecosystem services. EFI is active in the two latter and uses marteloscopes in Slovenia, Germany and Sweden as outdoor forest classrooms for educating school students and encourages them to become multipliers communicating their gained knowledge. 

TRANSFORMIT

Transforming Forest Management for multiple ecosystem services and nature conservation via the Integrative approach (EU Horizon Europe project; ongoing)

The project aims to demonstrate and improve the effectiveness of IFM to combine productive forestry and biodiversity conservation by integrating existing practical and scientific knowledge, and to stipulate collaboration and mutual learning amongst science, policy, and practice in Europe and internationally. As a coordination and support action, TRANSFORMIT will lay the basis for larger scale implementation of IFM through proactive engagement with well-established networks, such as the Integrate Network for which EFI acts as secretariat.  

Martelkom

Marteloscopes as a research and communication tool for integrative forest management in Germany (Fachagentur für Nachwchsende Rohstoffe – FNR – financially supported through the German Ministry for Food and Agriculture – BMEL; ongong)

Martelkom is a joint research project with the aim of bringing together different societal needs for forests and sustainable forest management and supporting communication. Using marteloscopes, the project offers a space for discussions, leaning and encountering different perspectives. Especially citizens are invited to experience forestry decisions in the forest for themselves, to help shape them and to discuss them with foresters and owners. EFI and the Forest Research Institute Baden-Württemberg implement this study in different regions of Germany. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) via the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR).

Holisoils

Holistic management practices, modelling & monitoring for European forest soils (EU H2020 project, ongoing)

HoliSoils develops a harmonised soil monitoring framework and identifies and tests soil management practices aiming to mitigate climate change and sustain provision of various ecosystem services essential for human livelihoods and wellbeing. It incorporates novel methodologies and expert knowledge on analytical techniques, data sharing, soil properties and biodiversity, and processes with model development,to order to develop tools for soil monitoring, refine greenhouse gas assessments of the LULUCF sector, enhance efficiency of mitigation actions, and improve numerical forecasting of soil-based mitigation, adaptation, and ecosystem services. In the frame stakeholder interactions and knowledge transfer marteloscopes find use and application.

Former Projects

Integrate Finland

Decision-making support for forest owners in a changing operating environment (EU Regional development Fund; completed)

The main goal of the project was to develop the skills of forest owners in North Karelia and to support the decision-making capabilities of forest owners by developing a learning and training framework to support decision-making related to forest use. In this context (1) educational forests were established in North Karelia to train forest owners in forest management, taking into account the multifunctional use of forests, issues of sustainable cultivation, climate change and carbon sequestration, and to promote international exchange, (2) the existing I+ mobile application was improved and further developed to enable forest owners to assess the impact of forest management decisions on timber production, biodiversity and climate change mitigation, and (3) teaching materials were developed for implementing training in the established educational forests sites North Karelia. 

ANW Dauerwald Projekt

(Fachagentur für Nachwchsende Rohstoffe – FNR; financially supported through the German Ministry for Food and Agriculture – BMEL; completed)

Main objective of responsible forest management is to reduce the risk of forest loss over large areas while at the same time safeguarding yield potential. To investigate the economic and ecological sustainability of applying close to nature forest management, the project “Dauerwald” set up permanent observation plots and marteloscopes in selected forest enterprises in different regions of Germany as part of a larger European network. 

FoReSite (2020-2022)

The project – Managing Forests for Resilience and Biodiversity – Bridging Policy, Practice, Science and Education (FoReSite) had as main aim the further consolidation and visibility of the Integrate Network within Europe. FoReSite targeted to develop the Networks’ strategic profile as a nucleus for topics around integrative forest management and most importantly seek options for continuing its work in the future by securing financial support. It emphasized the need for cross-discipline, cross-sector and multi-actor exchange for addressing sensitive issues when managing forests for multiple services based on varying demands especially by organising a series of webinars, publications and policy briefs. Another important activity was to continue the support of the expansion of the demonstration site network and the corresponding training software. Demonstration sites have shown to be highly appreciated as training nd education tools for better understanding rationales, effects and trade-offs when implementing integrative forest management measures. FoReSite was funded by German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

INFORMAR (2017-2020)

Given the valuable outputs of the two aforementioned programs, it was considered crucial to preserve the knowledge gained by Integrate and Integrate+ and to maintain and expand the network of forest policy experts and forest practitioners. The project Integrated Forest Management Learning Architecture (INFORMAR) did precisely that. Apart from managing the European Network Integrate and the Integrate Practice Network, the third focus of INFORMAR lied on research on integrative forest management approaches on a European scale. It analyzed existing knowledge relating to the implementation of integrative forest management in order to address and fill potential knowledge gaps. INFORMAR was funded by German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Integrate+ (2013-2016)

The success of the Integrate project elicited a follow-up initiative in 2013: Integrate+. This was a demonstration project funded by German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture aiming at establishing a European network of demonstration sites for the integration of biodiversity conservation into forest management. It was built on a growing network of forest practitioners and research partners focussing on the implementation of integrative management and enhancing transnational exchange of experiences. The main outcomes of this project were the set-up of the Marteloscope network, the creation of the Catalogue of Tree Microhabitats and, as icing on the cake, the award-nominated film Wise use of our forest: the integrative approach.

Integrate (2010-2013)

European Forest Institute started working on integrative forest management in 2010 with the Integrate project, focusing on the Integration of Nature Protection in Forest Management and its Relation to other Forest Functions & Services. The geographic scope of the project was primarily the Central European region. Integrate gave science-based input to the discussion on the topic of ‘protection through management’ in the forest sector. This resulted in a set of country reports and a peer review paper. The work was financially supported by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection. The next activity, funded by the Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMEL) was the elaboration of the book Integrative approaches as an opportunity for the conservation of forest biodiversity  (2011 – 2013). It constitutes a comprehensive assessment of the latest scientific knowledge on biodiversity in managed and unmanaged forests. It aimed at providing a basis for discussion by informing the ongoing debate on how biodiversity can be best preserved in commercially managed forests in Central Europe and beyond. The book is also available in English, German and French and reprinted several times. Financial contributions to the printing of the book were received from the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL), the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection, the French Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Swiss Canton Vaud.