Climate Action Starts on Your Plate – Plant-Based Alternatives

Climate action starts on your plate and is thanks to a huge selection of plant-based alternatives very easy nowadays. Two EUKI projects raise awareness among young people and adults on this topic.

Training sessions for the new volunteers

Humus per la Biosfera

September marked the arrival of 6 new volunteers from Germany and France to the Humus per la Biosfera project in Sicily. Most of them will stay for one year to contribute to our project on humus growth and environmental education with school children.

On the occasion of its 5th anniversary, the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) published an interactive e-paper. The previous achievements and future orientation of the initiative are clearly listed in words and figures.

Humus per la Biosfera – Start of Soil Analysis

Humus per la Biosfera

From the community

Humus per la Biosfera – Start of Soil Analysis

by Laura Serra (GV volunteer)  

In June we started a series of soil tests on experimental fields near Bronte with the University of Catania. The humus content and growth will be measured over the next ten years using various factors. This long term investigation aims to gain a better understanding of possible humus-building agricultural measures.

group in a field in italy

Group visit of project members on site ©Giacche Verdi Bronte

Further information

Terre della Biosfera

The research takes place in three different fields near Bronte: An organic olive grove, a traditional organic olive-pistachio grove and an intensively cultivated almond-pistachio grove. The last two directly border each other and are well suited for a comparison of soil attributes and soil biodiversity between organic cultivation and pesticide and artificial fertiliser use. Already in the winter semester 21/22, we conducted a comparative arthropoda study here with interns.

Man surrounded by students sitting in field taking soil samples Students take soil samples Hands cutting tube

Prof. Paolo Guarnaccia (second from left) from the University of Catania and his students took vertical soil samples for lab analysis of porosity, CO2-oxygen respiration and other factors.

Hands on plastic students

Students and volunteers placed a metal ring in the ground, covered with foil, to distribute a certain amount of water evenly in the ring by quickly pulling away the foil. The time during which the water percolates into the earth gives clues about the soil’s porosity and compression.

Man sitting and digging in the ground

Surrounded by volunteers Dr. Andrea Zimone (left) took topsoil samples for analyzing the soil biological quality, based on microarthropods.

Man sitting in field Tube measures

Prof. Domenico Longo (above) measured the soil respiration. The lower part of his self made CO2 accumulation chamber is an empty cylinder, which is open above the ground. The upper part contains the electronics which are able to measure the rise of CO2 concentration from the ground, starting with the amount equal to the surrounding air (400 ppm). The soil releases CO2 from the microbial respiration – the faster the graph rises, the more microorganisms are present. The device also measures temperature, humidity and pressure.

The analysis will continue regularly.

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Climate Action at Mount Etna – Years of Work bear Fruit

Planting trees, growing vegetables, composting waste – climate action and nature conservation can be very practical and fun. This is something the Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung and local conservation organisation Giacche Verdi Bronte have been teaching for several years now through three projects funded by the European Climate Initiative (EUKI).

This guide is designed to inspire educators, organizations, and government agencies to address the connection between our eating habits and climate change in an educational and interactive way.

Educational Tools To Approach Food Sustainability: Toolkit

Educational Tools To Approach Food Sustainability: Toolkit

With food production accounting for up to 37 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, changing individual dietary habits plays a critical role in combating climate change.

In this toolkit “Educational Tools To Approach Food Sustainability – Toolkit of Activities”, the EUKI project Bringing Climate Action to the Table has put together activities that will serve as an inspiration for educators, organisations and government agencies to address the relationship between our eating habits and climate change in formal, non-formal or informal settings in an educational and interactive way.

Download PDF

Bringing Climate Action to the Table

Steps towards optimised management with forest carbon sinks in Slovenia

Forests for Future

From the community

Steps towards optimised management with forest carbon sinks in Slovenia

by Matevž Konjar, Forest for Future

At the start of 2022, the Forest for Future project consortium has achieved essential steps that will contribute to the optimised management of forest carbon sinks in Slovenia. Progress was performed in the form of forest development model and scenario creation, elaboration of forest management planning guidelines and policy recommendations, organisation of activities aimed at informing and increasing awareness of large forest estate owners and managers, and dissemination of project results.

Creation of forest development models and scenarios

Forest development models and scenarios are crucial for understanding the effect of different measures on the amount and sustainability of forest carbon sinks. They were developed by The Department of Forestry (Biotechnical faculty of Ljubljana, University of Ljubljana). The task was completed in march 2022 with the preparation of models and scenarios that predict the effect of various management scenarios on the state of forest carbon sinks in three different beech-fir-spruce forest types in Slovenia. The modeling results have also served as the foundation for creating management recommendations that would optimize existing management practices in Slovenia.

As a part of Output I, the first version of the digital tool was created in cooperation with both project partners. The digital tool is based on the results of modelling and scenario creation. It utilitzes data gathered in forestry databases of the Slovenia Forest Service. The tool offers forest management planners an overview of past forest carbons sink developement trends. It also offers support in the process of decision making, as it enables forest management planners the selection of future measures that will ensure coordinated achievement of all forest management goals including optimised management with forest carbons sinks.

Slovanian forest

Slovanian forest © Matevž Konjar

Forest management planning guidelines and policy recommendations

Forest management planning guidelines elaborate measures that will contribute to better mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Slovenian forests. They are based on the results of modeling and other existing scientific developments. Guidelines have already been implemented in the regional forest management plans for 2021-2030. Regional forest management plans are a strategic foundation for creation of management unit forest management plans. They elaborate concrete measures that need to be taken in order to achieve all forest management goals including mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

To ensure structured and sufficient integration of proposed measures into practice a list of policy adaptations has been compiled. The list includes a set of legislative, organisational, and financial adaptations that require implementation into Slovenia’s existing forest management system. To identify the main challenges that need to be addressed, analysis of the existing legislative backgrounds, financial mechanisms and best practice examples has been performed. Results of situation analysis have been combined with results of survey in which 34 of the leading national forestry and environmental experts expressed their perspectives on the challenges and potentials for the optimisation of forest management regarding climate change mitigation and adaptation. The proposals for management optimisation and policy recommendations were gathered in the document draft that was later presented and further amended at the national training workshop that was held on 18th May 2022 in Mašun, Slovenia. During the workshop, representatives of 10 different public and private institutions and ministries have reviewed the proposals. They offered additional inputs and comments that were later included in the document.

Workshop in Slovania

National training workshop that was held in Mašun, Slovenia © Matevž Konjar

Communication and networking with large forest estate owners and managers

In the process of communication and awareness-raising of owners and managers of large forest estates, the project consortium continued organisation of meetings. The aim was to inform owners about the importance of active management as a key tool for climate action. They got an opportunity to present their experiences with forest management as well as examples of good practices and new business opportunities, which they believe will contribute to achieving the goals of mitigation and adaptation to climate change, development of circular economy, preservation of biodiversity, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Feedback provided by forest owners and managers was considered in the process of preparing policy recommendations. They were also invited to participate in national training in Mašun, Slovenia.

Awareness raising and dissemination

In the recent period, different activities were performed aiming to raise awareness of various groups about the importance of active forest management as a tool for achieving a goal related to mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

In cooperation with the BIO4ECO project, the Forests for Future project consortium organised an international conference that was held on 31th March in Slovenia. At the conference, participants from 6 countries presented examples of various political and technological solutions (use of renewable forest biomass, implementation of new digital tools into the process of forest management, etc.) that have the potential to contribute to climate transformation and development of the circular economy.

The concept of climate action and the role of forests in the process of mitigation and adaptation to climate change was also presented to preschool and school children as a part of the event “Forest, water, mill” (Slovenian – “Gozd, voda, mlinček”) that was organized on 25th May 2022 in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Slovenia Forest Service traditionally organises the event as a part of Forest week. This year 829 children had the chance to explore the causes and basic principles of the greenhouse effect (global warming) and the response of tree rings to fluctuations in environmental factors. They also got seeds of European silver fir (Abies alba) that they could seed and nurture at home.

On 10th June 2022, the project consortium, in cooperation with the Austrian forestry society (German – Österreichischer Forstverein) organised a field excursion in Trenta, Soča valley. The excursion was organised as a part of the Austrian forestry days 2022 (German – Österreichische Forsttagung 2022). On the excursion, participants were introduced to Slovenian forest management practices and projects that Slovenia Forest Service is participating in and are aimed at developing new management approaches and policies for mitigation and adaptation to climate action(Forests for Future, DINALPCONNECT, RockTheAlps, GreenRisk4Alps).

The project consortium has, in collaboration with projects LIFE Systemic and BIO4ECO, prepared media champagne posted on different social media channels to inform the broader public about the importance of active forest management as a tool for mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Published content was stored on public profiles of Slovenia Forest Service and will be permanently accessible.

Kids in a slovanian forest

Preschool and school children at the event “Forest, water, mill” in Ljubljana, Slovenia © Matevž Konjar

Future goals

In the coming period, the project consortium will perform fifteen training workshops where the following topics will be presented:

  • presentation of basic concepts and definitions,
  • the forest management planning guidelines for mitigation and adaptation to climate change,
  • the forest development models and scenarios,
  • the digital tool – training of its usage,
  • policy recommendations.

The first workshop will be dedicated to the leading staff of the Slovenia Forest Service and some national decision-makers. The other 14 workshops will be devoted to forest management planners and heads of local foresters at all fourteen regional units of Slovenia Forest Service.

Scientists in the forest

Presenting the project in the forest © Matevž Konjar

Several scientific and professional articles are being prepared for publishing in international and domestic journals dedicated to forestry. As a collaboration between projects, we will actively attend a summer school as part of the LIFE IP CARE4CLIMATE project. We are preparing a project presentation for the annual EUKI conference and the IUFRO international symposium.

As we realized within the implementation of the Forests for Future project, it is necessary to actively raise awareness of both professionals and the general public to understand the issue. We will continue to raise general awareness of the importance of forests for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.

EUKI in German TV: Report on Young Volunteers and Students within the Project Humus per la Biosfera

Humus per la Biosfera

A TV team from the Bayerische Rundfunk accompanied our activities to report on the daily Sicilian life of young German volunteers, who are contributing to nature protection and environmental education within the Humus project.

Humus per la Biosfera: Formation and Sensitisation for Humus Growth

Humus per la Biosfera

The face-to-face conference was aimed at 82 high school agricultural students from two schools and their teachers (12), as well as GV staff, their volunteers and four university students. The live webinar was attended by 76 farmers who had recently participated in a survey conducted by GV/MHS and the University of Catania on the economic and environmental situation of their farms.