Evaluating trade regulations in Forest-risk Commodities to protect biodiversity

The world’s forests and the biodiversity they harbour are significantly impacted by the global trade in forest and agricultural Forest-risk Commodities (FRCs), commodities whose production or extraction might contribute to deforestation or forest degradation, such as timber and soy. In the context of increasing international and domestic demand for these products, it is essential to understand how trade-offs and synergies of public policy and governance initiatives (e.g. conflicting social, economic and environmental goals) regulating global FRC value chains affect forest biodiversity. The CLEVER work packages 4 and 5, presented by Laila Berning and Rafaella Ferraz Ziegert at the forest policy science conference in Freiburg (Forstpolitikwissenschaftstreffen Freiburg), investigate this research question.

The three-day conference brought together international scientific researchers who study the interrelations of governance and politics in the realm of forest and environmental conservation through different angles of discourse, legitimacy, power, communication, management and more. The CLEVER project featured in a poster exhibition, sparking interesting discussions around the topics of commodity value chains, mixed policy regulations, and biodiversity conservation.

The CLEVER research teams from the University of Freiburg, the European Forest Institute, and TU Dresden, together with their research partners from Brazil (Center for Advanced Amazonian Studies, University Federal do Pará), Cameroon and Gabon (University of Dschang) are investigating the trade-offs and synergies between the European Union (EU) and tropical producer countries. By conducting a mapping of key policy and governance initiatives and value chains (Brazil-EU soy, wood pulp, and timber value chains, Cameroon-EU and Gabon-EU timber value chain, and India-EU key forest-risk commodities), the researchers will identify key leverage points for enhancing biodiversity conservation.

To identify the right mix of policy and governance initiatives, the CLEVER team is also interviewing a range of demand and supply-side stakeholders from governmental authorities, non-governmental organizations, certification bodies, research organizations, and the private sector. The project’s findings will help policymakers and stakeholders make informed decisions about sustainable biomass production and trade.

If you have any inquiries about the work packages, you can contact CLEVER project team leader at Freiburg Metodi Sotirov (metodi.sotirov (at) ifp.uni-freiburg.de), Laila Berning (laila.berning (at) ifp.uni-freiburg.de) or Rafaella Ferraz Ziegert (rafaella.ziegert (at) ifp.uni-freiburg.de).

Dr. Metodi Sotirov, Laila Berning and Rafaella Ferraz Ziegert – University of Freiburg

Written by Laila Berning and Rafaella Ferraz Ziegert – University of Freiburg

Data Management in projects: enjoyable or unavoidable?

Have you already faced the situation when someone asks you about your original data, but you don’t even remember what your excel file names mean anymore? Or the data is deposited in a public database but nobody can sort it out anyways? These are common practical challenges in the research world. Not only we deal with increasingly larger and more complex data sets, but we also often cannot find effective ways to organize them. That is why the TRAs (Transdisciplinary Research Areas) of the University of Bonn came together to organize TeRAbytes, an interactive workshop on strategies for data science and data management, with more than 100 participants, on January 17 and 18 of 2023.

The workshop had among the goals to identify common strengths, challenges, and development directions, and provide feedback to the university on future requirements for an excellent digital infrastructure. Besides an entire afternoon with concrete examples from NFDI Projects, the highlight of the event was the sharing of services and infrastructure available at Bonn University to support scientists on these matter, presented by Dr. Christian Bittner and Dr. Sergej Zerr.

Naturally, workshops are always better with visual examples. At the end of the first day, there was a poster session when participants could get an overview of the ongoing activities at the university and exchange of ideas and common challenges. Fernanda Martinelli, from the CLEVER Coordination team, presented the Data Management Plan expected to be implemented at this EU-funded project, adapted from the work of Ines Jendritzki. Check it out:

Photo by Fernanda Martinelli
Fernanda Martinelli

Fernanda Martinelli – University of Bonn

Featured image by our-team on Freepik