EFICENT symposium in Freiburg
48 participants from 7 countries joint the EFICENT Symposium “Towards resilient forest social-ecological systems in Central Europe” which took place on 23 November at the Forest Research Institute “FVA” in Freiburg. The symposium was organized and moderated by Dr. Carol Grossmann, Head of the EFICENT Regional Office. The plenary encompassed a fruitful mix of representative of experienced and young scientists, ministries, administration and a few practitioners.
During the day strategies, policies, concepts and ideas as well as projects and achievements relating to EFICENT – past and future – were presented in an open atmosphere. All talks were well received and inspired discussions and new thoughts for many people.
After the opening by Prof. Konstantin von Teuffel (FVA), host of the EFICENT Regional Office, EFI Director Dr. Marc Palahì drew a bigger picture of the historic, existing and coming challenges Europe has to deal with. He emphasized the importance of joint forest research in Europe, about an effective science to policy interface, and the new strategy of EFI in this setting. Matthias Schwoerer from the German Federal Ministry for Agriculture underlined the benefits of an integrated EFI Office in Bonn, which will be located on the UN Campus with close connection to other international organisations. An inspiring key note speech was given by Robert Flies, who is Advisor to Directorate General for Environment of the European Commission. He focused on the need of social science to better understand and apply integrated management approaches not only in forestry, to solve the societal challenges of today. Integration is promoted as imminent to reach and motivate European people and to support improved European policy making. The speech involved pragmatic approaches which can also be applied hand on in networking activities as well as forest management.
Dr. Georg Winkel, who is the designated Head of EFI office in Bonn, gave an overview on his plans and ideas for the first years of EFI in Bonn. This talk complemented very well the presentations by the EFICENT Team: Project leaders Daniel Kraus and Dr. Frank Krumm supported by Anja Bindewald, Alexander Held, Hannes Schmitt, Andreas Schuck, Verena Quadt, and Dr. Lucie Vitkova, as well as Paul Rougieux (former OEF/INRA) and Dr. Christoph Hartebrodt (FVA) summarized in a lively way the successes and major outputs of projects conducted by EFICENT and its partners during the last years.
Regional donors and EFI associated members (Sibylle Werner, MLR, Dr. Andi Rigling, WSL and Dr. Laurent Saint-André, INRA/AgroParisTech, Prof. Dr. Marc Hanewinkel, Freiburg University), already formal partners in the Nancy-Freiburg-Zuerich-Forest-Network “NFZ.forestnet”, expressed their positive experiences from joint projects with EFICENT and other Central European partners during the last seven years. Their contributions resolved in strategic research topics and networking activities they would appreciate further cooperation in the future.
An interactive workshop session invited participants to discuss 6 different topics (e.g. What are main strategic research topics with specific relevance for Central Europe; How can interdisciplinary research be enhanced) in a relaxed “World Café”-setting, mixing groups and resulted in inspiring ideas.
The symposium was an excellent opportunity for donors and associate members to meet and to develop further the work and presence of EFI in Central Europe. Dr. Marc Palahi expressed his special thanks to Dr. Carol Grossmann for having taken up the task to manage the transition phase of EFICENT, thereby paving the way for new forms of cooperation.