Guest Lecture held by member of German Ministry for the Environment

Forest and Landscape Restoration – a global movement and priority was the title of the lecture within the MSc. Course “Tropical Forestry” held by Dr. Horst Freiberg from the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), on April 18th.

The lecture room was crowded by Master and PhD students and staff. Dr. Freiberg welcomed the expectant audience by asking for the represented home countries. To almost each of them he could mention a current restoration project or a conference he attended recently. His academic background is forestry, awarded with a PhD by the University of Munich. Practical experiences, he gained in the Bavarian Forest Services and he worked many years in development cooperation projects in Latin America. Since 2009 he is the Head of Division for Forest Conservation and Sustainable Management of Forests, Biological Diversity and Climate Change at the BMU in Bonn.

The lecture started with a short introduction about landscape degradation and restoration, followed by an overview about important sources of information and key actors in the field. Dr. Freiberg was eager to share his vivid insight into political processes regarding landscape restoration. He is one of the fathers of the Bonn Challenge which was launched by the BMU and the IUCN in 2011 as a global effort promoting the target to restore 150 Mio ha of degraded land until 2020. The second part of the presentation focused on main challenges for the implementation of restoration efforts, but also highlighted examples of good practice from national down to community level. After a short break, the Q&A-session was readily used by the audience; and even after the official end of the lecture Horst Freiberg was open to discuss further question with Master and PhD students.

The guest lecturer emphasized the importance of being open minded and creative. He encouraged the students to find innovative solutions for the financing and implementation of restoration projects at home, e.g. developing sustainable and deforestation-free product chains for new commodities or install a series of reforestation trial areas.

By Sophie Ackermann

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