Handing in My Thesis and a Chat About Forests

The bags under my eyes were big enough to go shopping with them. It has been a crazy time. I didn’t pull an all-nighter to finish my thesis, but it often got really late. And I couldn’t sleep well because this document was always on my mind. But now…

My thesis is done!

68 pages. Now printed and handed in. It’s glorious.

What’s it about now?
It’s title is “Comparative analysis between regulatory measures for a sustainable forestry sector in Germany and Sweden”.

How did this come about? I was in Sweden, on the road for an excursion. We were talking about forests and that there are so many of them in Sweden. Then David from my biology course said that it was horrible how Sweden treated its forests. They check if the forest has the right age (it’s normally 70 or even less as I found out now) and then they clear-cut the entire area. I would never have thought that. And in a lecture we had, our teacher Lasse told us about a programme he had heard on the radio in the morning: They were planning new nature conservation measures for highly valuable forests. This in turn would make it impossible for forestry to be conducted. As a result, all forest owners ran to their forests and clear-cut them before the new regulation came.

On the road through Swedish forests

I became really interested in forests and what we do to them and I wanted to know more. So I wrote an article about German forests during my internship and what climate change is doing to them. My thesis was just the next logical step combining everything.

A forest in near Ullared, Sweden

In the end I found out that not governmental regulation, laws etc alone will make forests more sustainable. There has to be a combination of regulation and certification. Certification with – in Germany and Sweden – FSC and PEFC: These are systems where you let your forest be tested if it fits certain guidelines set up by FSC and PEFC and then you get a label for your wood. People who buy your wood then know that it comes from sustainable forestry. This was inititally proposed to counteract deforestation in the world. But it isn’t really effective. This is why a combination of a good forest law and certification is so important.

Also, there is no world-wide forest law. We are talking about climate change and there is no forest law! This would be one of the first steps – stopping deforestation and setting the world’s forests on fire, and planting new ones. Sadly enough, though, it isn’t thus far. Leaves more work for us environmental managers of the future, I guess.

This is what climate change will also bring: More storms. In the forests in Münster this was really extreme. So many pine trees and spruce were thrown by the storms. This is why we need to forest composition and prepare forests for these new circumstances.

After all the work around forests, I finally have time to go back to my commission paintings that I need to finish before I go to Sweden again. Also… A lot of time to knit. I started a patchwork blanket with all the little wool balls I have left over from various projects. They sit in a drawer in my room and I never knew what to do with them. Now, they have a purpose. I want to make the blanket 180x100cm so I need 180 squares. I’m at 18 right now… That’s going to take a lot of time. I also think that I will probably bring the squares that I already did to Sweden and finish it there one day.

Here’s me knitting squares…

I sat in the garden in the grass, was knitting a jacket and suddenly felt a sting in my thigh. It was no bee or wasp or anything. It was my cat. It had spotted the wool. I never knew that cats can be this obsessed with wool. I couldn’t really get her away from it, so instead I just went on knitting while she threw around the yawn between her paws and nibbled on it from time to time. This game got a little boring at one point so she walked away a few meters and lay down in the shade of the apple tree.

My cat who was exceptionally interested in the yarn

This has been my week. Lots of forest stories, lots of knitting, painting, and singing!

Some flowers in our garden