The biotic threats workshop was organized together with the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague (CULS) in the Czech Republic in the 2nd and 3rd of April. The topic attracted 32 participants from 18 different European countries. The Czech Republic was a relevant choice of location for this workshop as bark beetles are creating a havoc in the Czech forests. In 2019, this tiny beetle is expected to damage 25 million m3 of timber.
The idea of the workshops is to exchange experiences and to identify, what kind of tools have been used in different situations. By tool we mean any measure that helps in risk management, be it a collection of guidelines, a diagnostic mobile app or a model for predicting insect outbreaks. The objective of the workshops is to produce an open compendium with tools that address each phase of the risk management cycle.
During the workshop, experts from other European countries presented their strategies on managing forest disturbances. For instance, Katrina Dainton from Forest Research in the UK presented their approach to counteract the oak processionary moth, a threat to human, animal and tree welfare. Sarah Yoga from the EFI Plant Facility in Bordeaux, presented the SilvAlert App (PLURIFOR) as a potential tool for citizen scientists to report on visible damage on pine wood caused by nematodes in south-western Europe. Kateryna Davydenko from the Ukrainian Research Institute of Forestry and Forest Melioration discussed the potential impact of emerald ash borer, which is suspected to have reached the Ukrainian-Russian border.
The workshop also included an excursion to the research site of CULS, where they measure the tree stress as well as train dogs to smell the trees infected by the bark beetles. As Marcus Lindner, the Principal Scientist of the EFI Resilience Programme, said “The workshop underlined how crucial it is to learn from other manager’s experience. You can learn from errors that others have made when dealing with similar disturbance events, so you can avoid those and optimize your management response much faster. Additionally, to sharing existing tools or good practices, new approaches can be identified jointly through the exchange with other experts who bring in different perspectives.” The next steps are to process the identified tools and create an open compendium where people have access to the documentation.
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