How to build a forest restoration community 

On November 20-22, 2023, our hybrid SUPERB Restoration Project Festival brought together 25 forest restoration experts in Milan in addition to a vibrant online community. Here we recap the key moments: 

Day 1 started with a deep dive into innovative funding and long-term continuity for forest restoration projects: 

  • Dr. Thomas Campagnaro from the Università degli Studi di Padova shared insights on upscaling approaches in forest biodiversity, including the BOTTOMS-UP project 
  • Antti Leinonen from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland presented the Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO and its success in securing long-term funding. 
  • Dr. Giustino Mezzalira, forestry engineer and consultant, discussed innovative financing for large-scale forest restoration on the Marcesina plateau in Italy. 

Day 2 was all about collaboration and knowledge exchange: 

  • Participants took centre stage and shared best practices on boosting ecosystem resilience, reconciling conflicting goals and objectives, monitoring project successes and building partnership within their respective projects. 
  • The SUPERB Gateway – an upcoming public online database for tools on forest restoration practice, science, governance, and funding – was presented.  
  • Participants completed the SUPERB Practice Questionnaire which aims to bring valuable information from across European forestry projects to this community. Would you like to contribute? Please complete the survey here

On Day 3 we explored the impactful role of storytelling in fostering multistakeholder collaboration in restoration. In this workshop by the European Forest Institute, we drew examples from the SUPERB demonstrator area Vindeläven-Juhtatdahka Biosphere Reserve in Sweden. 

In Milan, the festival concluded with a guided visit led by SUPERB partner Fabio Campana to Parco Nord, the city’s largest urban forest and part of the SUPERB Po Valley demo area. 

The success of the festival was the achievement of our participants and owes much to our diverse speakers on days 2 and 3: 

Lastly, congratulations to Marijan Lozancic on winning the festival’s visual exhibition contest with a video on demining interventions in Bosnian forests! 

A heartfelt thanks to our project partners and speakers for their cooperation, and to all participants for joining us to share their invaluable perspectives and build future partnerships. 

The event was organised by SUPERB partner Prospex Institute. 

Guided visit to Paco Nord urban forest in Milan

SUPERB Restoration Project Festival – join us online! 

20-22 November 2023 CET | Hybrid event

On 20-22 November 2023 the SUPERB Restoration Project Festival for forest restoration experts working in Europe will take place in Milan, Italy, and online, CET. 

You are welcome to register for specific sessions of interest

SUPERB is a Horizon 2020 research and innovation project launched by the Europe Commission and led by the EFI

The SUPERB Restoration Project Festival will be the opportunity for European forest restoration specialists to come together to:

  • Contribute to forging a common pool of effective forest restoration solutions and making them available across Europe.
  • Hear from innovative approaches and initiatives in this field.
  • Join a growing network for knowledge sharing and cooperation for forest restoration practitioners that is being built by SUPERB.

During the event, you will make your input together with representatives of around 40 other European forest restoration initiatives. Most of the festival’s sessions are hybrid, and the highlights include:

  • Kick-off keynote on success stories of innovative funding and long-term-continuity, with speakers from the FAGUS Life+project and the Forest Biodiversity Programme METSO.
  • A series of sessions for sharing restoration best practices and drawing common insights and ideas on key topics for forest restoration. 
  •  ‘Stories for impact’ – signature workshop by EFI where you will learn hands-on how to use the power of story as a tool for public engagement and collaboration.  

You can explore the different sessions in the agenda attached. Please note that places for some sessions are limited. 

To participate, please register for the sessions of your choice using this form, by Wednesday 15 November. 

For any questions, please contact .

We look forward to hearing from you!

The team of organising SUPRB partner Prospex Institute.

Engaging with SUPERB’s Swedish demo

In the end of September 2023 the Swedish SUPERB demo colleagues Åsa Granberg and Anders Esselin contributed an excursion with the advisory board of the regional forest program. The advisory board consists of representatives of a wide range of forest stakeholders, from NGOs in nature conservation and outdoor life, private forest owners, politicians and researchers to heads of forest management in the large forest companies in the region. It was an inspiring day with a lot of interesting discussions and meetings, starting with a visit to a field trial of chess board cutting, a version of continuous cover forestry. At site, Charlotta Erefur and Ida Rönnqvist, researchers at SLU (Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences) told the colleagues from the Swedish demo about the trial and encouraged to discussions. With such diverse group of stakeholders the discussions immediately started, covering things like potential benefits of the method, for example for biodiversity and recreational values, but also potential drawbacks, for example lower profitability and issues with regeneration.

The excursion ended with a visit in in the SUPERB restoration site Ume Älvdal, where municipality ecologist Marlene Olsson and SUPERB-member Åsa Granberg told the advisory board about the planned restoration activities in the area and about the SUPERB project. And despite pouring rain, the audience were really interested and gave their different views on the planned restoration actions. All in all – a really nice day!   

Webinar: Public perceptions of Forest Landscape Restoration

In our upcoming Forest Restoration Talk with IUFRO on 20 September 2023 4pm, we will discuss public perceptions of Forest Landscape Restoration in different regions of the world. Our first speaker, researcher Moses Kanzungu (WSL), will present results from a study on public perceptions of forests they conducted as part of the SUPERB project. Moses comments: “While the perceptions remained consistent across the study regions, the interviews unveiled two distinct classifications of forests. On one hand, forests were recognised as intricate and multifaceted entities, embodying a sense of ‘everything.’ On the other hand, an equally compelling perspective emerged where forests were cherished as unique and isolated havens. This duality in perception provides a fascinating glimpse into how individuals perceive and connect with these vital ecosystems.” 

Our second speaker is Vianny Ahimbisibwe (Thünen Institute), a specialist in land use potentials and ecosystem restoration in Africa. In a recent paper, he analysed the gap between restoration intentions and actual behaviours at the farm level. He emphasises that landscape implementers and facilitators need to work hand in hand for the effective implementation of FLR activities. Vianny will share experiences and lessons-learned from the FLESRA project, focusing on the performance of different silvicultural techniques, their cost-benefit structures and mismatch in actor values and beliefs in the FLR realm.

Finally, Åsa Granberg from the Västerbotten County Administration (Länsstyrelsen Västerbotten) in Sweden will share insights from SUPERB’s Swedish demo, which she is leading as a project manager. In this demo, the local team fosters natural forest configuration and forest connectivity on a landscape scale, improving conditions for biodiversity and indigenous Sami community reindeer husbandry. Their landscape approach also addresses governance challenges linked to the multiple ownership of land, including public, private, forest company and non-industrial private ownership in large- to small-scale gradients.

Register here: Webinar-Registration – Forest Restoration Talks – Zoom

New funding call for climate-smart forestry projects coming soon

FORWARDS is an EU-funded project that will prototype The ForestWard Observatory, a pan-European monitoring and evaluation tool that will help in demonstrating the impact of climate change on forests, guiding decision-making for practical forest management.

Five projects for building new climate-smart forest and forest restoration trials will be supported in the first round of calls by FORWARDS, with a total grant value of EUR 700,000 with a single grant value of maximum EUR 150,000. By the end of July, the application window for this grant call will be opened by EFI – the European Forest Institute. 

Projects resulting from successful submissions are anticipated to commence around the beginning of 2024. Each project has a maximum duration of 18 months. The project will issue numerous additional calls for funding for projects with various themes throughout the remainder of the year and until it is completed. If you work in Climate-Smart Forestry, watch out for the launch at the end of July. The call will be published on EFI’s grants webpage https://efi.int/grants-training/grants.

With a total budget of €14m and more than 19 partners involved, FORWARDS – with the ForestWard Observatory – will provide timely and detailed information on European forests’ vulnerability to climate change. The project will also deliver science-based knowledge to guide management using the principles of climate-smart forestry, ecosystem restoration and biodiversity preservation, developed in close consultation with relevant stakeholder groups. To set up The ForestWard Observatory, FORWARDS will launch at least five grant calls with a total value of EUR 6 million to fund 50 projects.

The data and the results from these projects will feed into The ForestWard Observatory.The ForestWard Observatory will be a long-lasting practical tool to support decision making:

  1. at European and national scale to provide a strategic perspective of disturbances, future risks, and critical vulnerabilities and threats to European forests;
  2. at regional and local scale to deliver more operational information for local CSF & Restoration management practice.

By operating at both these scales, the project will help improve the accuracy and timeliness of threat detection for European forests while enabling local management teams to respond promptly using a scientific basis. In this respect, The ForestWard Observatory will draw on available networks and data streams to apply pioneering approaches.

Helping our forests to realize their full potential

SUPERB researchers suggest improvements to Nature Restoration Law

The SUPERB project aims at large scale forest restoration in Europe, combining scientific and practical knowledge to drive actionable outcomes. In our recent policy brief, some of our high-level scientists developed recommendations for changes to the proposed EU Nature Restoration law based on the concepts underpinning our approach to forest restoration. These recommendations prioritize forward-looking restoration strategies by emphasizing ecosystem self-organization and climate change adaptation rather than aiming to restore our forests to past historical states.

Read our policy brief to explore how we can help our forest in Europe to realize their full and positive potential for the future.

Recreation and biodiversity protection – Stakeholder Workshop in Jutland, Denmark

by Sofie Møller Rasmussen

The first workshop for SUPERB in Denmark at our demo site in Northern Jutland. Eleven stakeholders took part in the workshop, which spanned over a whole Saturday in the beginning of September. The participants included forest rangers, local communities, visitors, nature watchers, riders and employees from the local national park. The biggest concern for most of the participants was the preceding monitoring work for the project. They were worried that the endangered and vulnerable species in the area would not be taken in to consideration before the restoration actions. The other big topic discussed was the recreational use of the area and how to guarantee access to it. Stakeholders’ concerns were specifically related to the restoration of natural hydrology, which could lead to flooding of trails used for riding and hiking. We realized that most stakeholders are interested in the use and facilities of the area, and less in biodiversity conservation and forest management. Finally, we aimed at establishing a good relationship with the participants (and with this the local community) so nobody felt left out or not heard. This together with trying to implement the wishes from the stakeholders will be challenging for the project, but it is also very inspiring.  

As part of the workshop, I was contacted by a journalist from DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation). DR is the oldest and largest media enterprise in Denmark. I was interviewed for a radio interview and based on this, an article was prepared and published on their national news site (dr.dk). The interview (in Danish) mainly focused on nature and biodiversity in the restoration area.

Precision restoration: fostering forest recovery in the 21st century

“Forest restoration is currently a primary objective in environmental management policies at a global scale, to the extent that impressive initiatives and commitments have been launched to plant billions of trees. However, resources are limited and the success of any restoration effort should be maximized. Thus, restoration programs should seek to guarantee that what is planted today will become an adult tree in the future, a simple fact that, however, usually receives little attention,” state Jorge Castro, Fernando Morales-Rueda, Francisco B. Navarro, Magnus Löf, Giorgio Vacchiano, and Domingo Alcaraz-Segura in their paper Precision restoration: a necessary approach to foster forest recovery in the 21st century, published in the journal Restoration Ecology in May 2021. They are advocating for the need to focus restoration efforts on an individual plant level to increase establishment success while reducing negative side effects by using an approach that they term “precision forest restoration” (PFR). What PFR means and what the implications for restoration approaches are you can read in the article.

Giorgio Vacchiano, one of the authors, is leading SUPERB’s Demo area – Po Valley – SUPERB (forest-restoration.eu).

Castro, J., Morales‐Rueda, F., Navarro, F. B., Löf, M., Vacchiano, G., & Alcaraz‐Segura, D. (2021). Precision restoration: A necessary approach to foster forest recovery in the 21st century. Restoration Ecology29(7), e13421. https://doi.org/10.1111/rec.13421


Featured image: Bark beetle damage in Germany (photo: Gesche Schifferdecker)

A new online tool to make restoration decisions easier

Ecosystem restoration is a complex process, from identifying in-need landscapes to determining best practices for planting trees and promoting natural regeneration. To help restoration actors, funders and other partners plan, carry out and monitor successful projects, FAO and World Resources Institute (WRI) have created AURORA, a web application named for Assessment, Understanding and Reporting of Restoration Activities. The application is now live and ready to support users as they make decisions and select desired impacts and indicators, set goals and monitor the progress of their restoration projects.

Read More

New publication: Policy responses to the Ukraine crisis threaten European biodiversity

SUPERB researchers Niels Strange from University of Copenhagen and Joseph William Bull from Kent University have recently contributed to the “Correspondence” section in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution, elaborating on the policy movement away from Russia as a response to the Ukraine crisis and how the recent EU changes to land use policy could jeopardize hard-won gains in efforts to combat biodiversity decline in Europe. The authors emphasize the expected market pull that will increase pressure on forest and open land, and urge the EU Commission and member states to retain an ambitious and long-term perspective on restoring biodiversity. This requires that biodiversity and land-use policies are robust in times of crisis and shifting political priorities — because the current crisis is not the first, and will not be the last. Read more about the recommendations (paid subscription) here.