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.
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 integrated forest management approaches.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Czech Republic (2017-2018)
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 integrated 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.
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.
European Forest Institute started working on integrated forest management in 2010 with the Integrate project, focussing 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 book Integrative approaches as an opportunity for the conservation of forest biodiversity (2011 – 2013), 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 German and French. The project was supported by the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Rural Affairs and Consumer Protection and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL).