The Kick-off Meeting was followed by a public Kick-off Conference open for associated partners and further interested parties. For the purpose of introducing the project not only to associated partners but the broad public as well, the BEECH POWER kick-off conference was organised at the same time as the university’s annual open day. Therefore, on 15th June the doors were open to the wider community to join the conference discussions.
The kick-off conference provided platform to create synergies between the objectives of the project and associated partners. Martin Flade, Director of the Biosphere Reserve Schorfheide-Chorin presented the history and current challenges that the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is facing, with the focus on finding balance reconciling the interests of the people living in the region and protecting one of the largest conservation areas in Germany.
Hanns Kirchmeir from the E.C.O. Institute of Ecology and Board member of the European Beech Forest Network introduced the World Heritage Coordination Project. He presented possibilities on how the BEECH POWER project can contribute to the further development of the World Heritage property. He also addressed challenges in buffer zone management and the development of a Buffer Zonation Guidance document for WH Beech forest component parts.
In the following presentation, Vlado Vancura from the European Wilderness Society presented the European Wilderness Quality Standard and its potential overlap with the European Beech Forest Quality Standard.
Peter R. Hobson, Professor of the Writtle University College and Board member of the European Beech Forest Network held a presentation on the topic of ecosystem-based adaptive forestry. He introduced key ecological attributes and stresses for biodiversity for the aim of conducting effective ecosystem-based conservation assessments.
Prof Hans Knapp, Chairman of the European Beech Forest Network introduced the European Beech Forest Network, its foundation and aim: to work towards a functional network of European Beech forest experts coming from valuable beech forest areas, and to facilitate joint initiatives that will strengthen the protection of the European beech forest. The main synergies lie in the contribution of knowledge and expertise of the Network to the project implementation, as well as anchoring the project outcomes for knowledge transfer to other component parts.
Cooperation between Interreg projects that tackle similar challenges provides an important growing opportunity. Gabriella Nagy from CEEweb for Biodiversity presented the results of the successful TRANSGREEN project, with special attention to how to reach target groups and successfully involve relevant stakeholders.
The Interreg CE project Centralparks focuses on building management capacities of Carpathian protected areas for the integration and harmonization of biodiversity protection and local socio-economic development. Hanna Öllös presented the project to the participants and proposed synergy activities in the following three years.
With the coordination of Max Rossberg from the European Wilderness Society, WP Communication Leader participants worked jointly on initiatives how to effectively involve target groups and further stakeholders in project communication and outreach.
After the official closing discussion, participants visited the University Open Day and familiarised themselves with several different ongoing research projects of the University. On the final conference day, the team spent a beautiful day to an excursion to a World Heritage component part in Grumsin, as well as the City of Angermünde. We are especially thankful to Frederik Bewer, the mayer of Angermünde, who guided the group and shared his knowledge of, and enthusiasm for this valuable World Heritage area.
Empowering World Heritage Beech Forest communities is a hot topic. To match this, the weather was almost tropical, the discussions heated, and the project partners passionate.
Thank you to all the participants and we are looking forward to the POWERful cooperation!