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.
What is the Integrate Network?
The 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 facilitator and scientific advisor.
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 (see link on the left with Terms of Reference).
Agata is a researcher in the Governance Programme at the European Forest Institute. She holds a PhD in environmental anthropology. Agata has been working with the Integrate Network since 2018. She was also responsible for the Bialowieza Science Initiative and research studies on the drivers for the integrated forest management across Europe.
A political scientist by background, Gesche has worked as a Communication Manager for over 10 years.
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)
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).
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.
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.