In mid-January, the SLU Forest Damage Centre hosted an open meeting. The aim was to take the next step in the process and develop contacts between researchers and the rest of society with the aim of jointly strengthening Swedish forests against forest damage.
The meeting was open to anyone interested in the area of forest damage. Around 80 people took part in a presentation on the development of SLU Forest Damage Centre from start to current state, a number of exhibitions on ongoing activities, but above all group work and discussions on, among other things, the challenges of forest damage from a climate change perspective and how they should be addressed.
– First of all, I would like to thank all the participants who contributed with many good comments, ideas and suggestions! The next step for SLU Forest Damage Centre is for us in the management team to sit down and structure this basis so that we can find the best possible way forward, says Jonas Rönnberg, Director of SLU Forest Damage Centre.
Several external parties participated
26 participants were from external parties, including representatives from the Swedish Forest Agency, Skogforsk and Sveaskog.
– I was pleasantly surprised by the number of participants, which really shows how important forest damage issues are. We need to rally and be prepared for the future with climate change and the new damage that comes in its wake, while at the same time we need to be quick-footed and effective together if or when emergencies occur. I see the meeting primarily as a networking exercise to prepare for these needs. Next time we look forward to a lot of exciting results and new knowledge, says Gisela Björse, Director of Silviculture at Sveaskog and chair in SLU Forest Damage Centre's external reference group.
Other topics discussed during the days included forest management to minimise the risk of damage, the difference between forest damage and a natural disturbance, the link between pests and diseases and also new problems posed by a warmer climate.
– For me as an analyst, it was very useful to be able to discuss with other participants the opportunities and challenges that we see ahead, but also to listen to external parties. Preventing and managing forest damage requires several organisations working together, says Audrius Menkis, analyst of damage caused by fungi, bacteria and viruses, at SLU's Forest Damage Centre.