Chinese experts inform themselves about SFM in alpine forests

Insights into SME, cooperative management and marketing

2017-06/ Sustainable multi-purpose management of alpine forests was on the agenda of a study tour for partners of the BfN "Enhancement of Ecosystem Services of communally managed Commercial Forests" project in China. The week of seminars and field excursions brought together researchers, administrators and forestry practitioners. Under ECO Consult's lead they acquainted themselves with climate-change adaptation, close-to-nature management and low-impact logging at the example of state and communal forests in Southern Germany and Austria. Demonstration and dissemination activities in 2017 and 2018 will put the insights into practise.

Renewable energies rank top in new German reform partnerships

Only random space for wood energy in investment-oriented program

2017-06/ Germany has allocated additional EUR 300 million of ODA in 2017 for renewable energy support, energy efficiency improvement and financial sector development in Tunisia, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. The three countries are the first to enter into a G20 'Compact with Africa', as a result of the Berlin G20 Summit under German presidency.

The compacts – initiatied by the G20, World Bank, International Monetary Fund and African Development Bank – are oriented towards creating job perspectives in Africa but with a decided side view to enabling foreign investment. On concluding the agreement German Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Gerd Müller said: "Our common goal is more private investment and, alongside, more job opportunities and income for Africa's young people", and: "Those who prove their political will to create momentum for their country and their people shall receive increased support."

As part of the BMZ's Marshall Plan with Africa that intends to open up a new era of economic cooperation, Germany's compact partners were selected for matter of their track of reforms in transparent public finance, anti-corruption and economic development. Germany will spend further EUR 20 million/ year to specifically improve the framework conditions for national and international investors in teh countries.

Sadly, the partnerships' agenda has only little space for wood energy. Oriented to foreign investment as the program is, it conventional targets solar, wind and hydro power, though support for SME grants as included in the scheme, would have been a welcome driver for sustainable wood energy markets. An adequate consideration of the widespread and imperative role of sustainable wood energy for decentral and independent national regenerative energy supplies remains to be awaited.

Contribution to Germany’s main platform for forestry professionals

ECO invited by German Forestry Association

2017-05/ In May, ECO Consult on behalf of Germany's Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, BfN, presented results of our project work in China at the German Forestry Association’s yearly convention. ECO was able to demonstrate how multi-purpose, close-to-nature management of commercial as well as protection forests can be promoted in a rapidly developing and highly dynamic society. The 68th convention took place at St. Emmeram Palace in Regensburg. In 10 case studies it presented a highly topical overview of present-day forestry cooperation that was devoted mainly to the preservation of remnant natural forest ecosystems and halting their degradation and decline.

Among the practical examples of international forestry cooperation presented in Regensburg, ECO Consult shared knowledge about the Sino-German project "Enhancement of Ecosystem Services of communally managed Commercial Forests in China". The project is implemented under commission of Germany’s Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, BfN. Discussions in plenary as well as on the side identified a wide range of potential synergies with like-minded initiatives and projects of Sino-German forestry cooperation.

The German Forestry Association (DFV) is Germany's principal platform for forestry professionals. Their annual gathering on May 17th-21st, was held under broad participation by implementing organisations of German ODA and cooperating practitioners.

ECO Consult honoured by Chamber of Commerce

Certificate of merit for 25 years of business

2017-04/25 years of business activities in Oberaula have left their imprint on ECO's standing as a company and, vice versa, on the local business and working environment. Among town representatives and citizens alike ECO Consult has managed to retain a reputation as highly estimated employer and reliable partner for volunteers' involvement such as for the local tennis club and other. The Chamber of Commerce now congratulated ECO for a quarter of a century's achievement in international business, with their feet firmly grounded in the company founders' local place of residence.

"You have managed to combine both: worldwide experience and rural roots" said Eugen Knoth, the Chamber's regional representant for Schwalm-Eder. In honour of ECO Consult's success as a private sector enterprise faithfully committed to the region he handed over of a certificate of merit. In the following informational meeting Knoth and ECO manager Dr. Steve Sepp discussed structural desirables and challenges. Though local infrastructure is not the prime driver of success for a company of ECO Consult's shape it has its impact in terms of an attractive spare time environment or, e.g., provision of IT network capacities.

Yasuni: New publications illustrate approach and progress

Lessons from territorial planning and capacity building

2017-04/ In the context of supporting the Yasuni Biosphere Reserve capacity building was promoted in a couple of dimensions. On behalf of the corresponding GIZ Programme ECO Consult assisted in (i) creating awareness about the benefits of the ecosystem among residents, in order to strengthen respect for the environment and conservation goals, and (b) promoted technical skills among local communities to improve the process of decision-making throughout the implementation of territorial planning tools.

Of central importance was the elaboration of Community Management Plans (CMP), to integrate physical and socio-economic planning, enable sustainable zoning of the Reserve, and thereby achieve an organized occupation of the Reserve’s territory and sustainable use of its resources. By now, the approved CMPs have already been submitted to Ecuador's Ministry of the Environment.

To systematize practical experience the Programme has issued documents that illustrate the training process and the methodology used for the plans. Other concerns are to improve the agricultural production systems and enable communitarian sustainable tourism in Yasuni. These are also reflected in the publication series. 

The following brochures are available in Spanish:

"Technical guide for the cultivation og Gayusa" / Guia_tecnica para el cultivo de Guayusa (PDF, 13 MB)

"Technical guide for the establishment and management of the super cocoa tree" / Guia_tecnica para el establecimiento y manejo del Cacao Súper Árbol (PDF, 13.9 MB) with annexes: Anexos Guia Tecnica (PDF, 4.7 MB)

"Training process to delegates of the Yasuní Biosfere Reserve for the elaboration of community management plans." / Proceso de formación a delegados y delegadas de comunidades de la Reserva de Biosfera Yasuní para la elaboración de Planes de Manejo Comunitario (PDF, 3.2 MB)

"Methodology for the process of elaborating community management plans – lessons learnt." / Metodología del proceso de elaboración de los Planes de Manejo Comunitario - Sistematización de los aprendizajes" (PDF, 2.4 MB)

"Agroforestry: „Trees are my pension scheme.“ – A technological strategy that allows to associate high value native forest species with commercial cultures relevant to the Amazonian area." / Agroforestería: 'Los árboles son mi jubilación' - Una estrategia tecnológica que permite asociar especies forestales nativas de alto valor con cultivos comerciales relevantes para el territorio amazónico" (PDF, 2.9 MB)

The Yasuni Biosphere Reserve Programme (now labelled "North Amazon Programme") focuses on landscape management, forest protection and sustainable use of biodiversity in the Northern area of the Ecuadorian Amazon. > PROJECT