Poster available: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe

Our new poster ‘Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe’ is available for downloading!

Update 21.08.2017: Now also available in Czech, Dutch, Portuguese and French.
Update 12.10.2017: Now also available in Romanian, Polish, Lithuanian, Latvian, Hungarian and Albanian.
Update 28.11.2017: Now also available in Gaelic and Serbian.
Update 12.06.2018: Now also available in Basque.

The poster is part of the bilingual Wilderness school-project ‘Let’s get Wild!‘. It visualises the role and influence this large carnivore can have in the European ecosystems. For example, the presence of the wolf affects many different animals, such as the predators (fox, golden jackal), herbivores (e.g., red deer, roe deer), scavengers (e.g., raven, vulture), and even humans!

The poster illustrates how the wolf can be a natural solution to different problems that European nature faces. The wolf keeps the number of foxes and golden jackals under control, allowing their prey (birds and rodents) to grow in population size. As the wolf takes out deer, areas along rivers become less overgrazed. This is beneficial for the beaver to build dams, which  provide a suitable habitat for a wide variety of fish, amphibians and small rodents in the new wetland. The left-overs of wolf-kills provide the scavengers with an all year round food source. And the increased numbers of wild boar, damaging the farm fields, are able to decrease as the wolf is almost the only natural enemy. As the poster represents the situation on a European scale, it can differ on a regional and local level.

During our many discussions concerning the return of the wolves to Europe, we always were stunned how little was known about the crucial role the wolf plays in our ecosystems. The beauty of the red deer and roe deer was caused in large part by presence of the wolf. Evolution taught them to be fast and nimble of powerful with large antlers to evade the wolf. With this poster, we want to increase the knowledge on how the wolf is restoring the balance in Europe´s Nature. Gudrun Pflüger, Large Carnivore Specialist

This educational project from the European Wilderness Society is supported by Austria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management. The available translations are made on voluntary basis by our Wilderness advocates. If you come across mistakes, feel free to contact us.

Download the poster ‘Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe’ for free! Spread the word on the essential role of the wolf in the European Wilderness!

Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe – poster downloads as PDF for your personal use as well as for educational purposes.

Albanian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_ALB

Basque: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_BSQ

Czech: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_CZE

Dutch: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_NED

English: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_ENG

French: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_FRE

Gaelic: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_GAE

German: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_DEU

Hungarian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_HUN

Italian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_ITA

Latvian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_LAT

Lithuanian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_LIT

Polish: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_POL

Portuguese: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_POR

Romanian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_ROM

Serbian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_SER

Slovakian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_SLO

Spanish: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_ESP

Ukrainian: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe_UKR

You can copy, print and redistribute the material in any medium or format, but please do not modify it without permission. We will have printed versions of the posters available upon request. Thank you.

We especially like to thank everybody who helped us with translating the poster into so many different languages.

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15 thoughts on “Poster available: Wolves restore nature’s balance in Europe

  1. Leider ist ihre Übersetzung sehr fehlerhaft !!!!! Schade !!!!

  2. Wenn Sie wirklich wissen wollen wie Wölfe denken, dann lesen Sie die “Gespräche mit Tieren” aus dem Flensburg Verlag in diesem Fall Band 4 (Naturgeister 14) Als jemand der unsere Mitgeschöpfe verstehen will sollte man sämtliche Gespräche lesen. !!!!!!!! Ich liebe diese Gespräche und begreife endlich was Gott uns damit sagen will. Alles Gute

  3. Dear Jesús Martínez Ballestero, your compliment and comments are well appreciated. Thank you, you will soon find an updated Spanish version online.

  4. Hi,
    First of all, it’s a great poster. But, there are two a misspellings in the Spanish version. One in the “deer” part: It is written “disminuirça” and it should be written “disminuirá”. The other, in the “beaver” part, it is written “volverça” and it should be “volverá”. Moreover, There appear two different forms of “jabalí” plural: “jabalís” and “jabalíes”, in the same poster (both are correct, but maybe it would be better to use only one of them).

  5. Dear Linda, thank you for your comment. We always welcome feedback to improve our work, I will send you an email with more information.

  6. Hi! The Czech version that is now available is not really translated well. Is there a possibility to change it. We would like to use it, but it has to be translated profesionally.

  7. Dear Christophe Voreux, thank you for your comment! In general, the lynx is a forest inhabitant in rough mountainous areas. A dense forest provides the, often solitary, hunting lynx a perfect habitat to hunt their main prey, the roe deer. A wolf pack will have difficulties to hunt such prey in a dense forest. In this perspective, the wolf and lynx distribution is therefore not likely to be overlapping. There are areas where occurrence is overlapping of course, like in Białowieża Primeval Forest, Poland. However, the number of lynx is very low in Europe, so the influence on mutual prey species is relatively low, compared to the effects of a wolf pack. Also, the wolf is not actively hunting lynx, rather avoiding confrontation. Since the lynx is a comparable apex predator, generally with a different habitat preference and preferred prey, and direct effects of wolves on lynx is limited, including the lynx in this poster would result in a more complicated and confusing poster. Your suggestion to change the text on the overpopulation of deer is appreciated. We are happy to receive any feedback, like wilderness our wolf-poster is a product of an ongoing and developing process. We will be publishing an updated version, including 5 more languages soon.

  8. Dear Nick,
    What about lynx and wolf? Nothing to say about this on the picture?
    Another thing: On the French version there is a mistake about wolf and deer: “More than 11 million deer result in overgrazing…” does not mean “La population de cervidés de 11 millions résulte du surpâturage…”.
    That is wrong and shall be corrected. Moreover, il is not said in which country there are more than 11 million deer.
    So I suggest: ” La surpopulation de cervidés a pour conséquence le surpâturage…”
    Best regards.

  9. Hi Mr Thulin, this poster is about restoring nature’s equilibrium. Herbivores are just as important and equal, but without the wolf they often become a problem. Without wolves hunters play the role of the carnivores. Also Herbivores have evolved to such great animals because of the pressure by wolves and golden jackals.

  10. A portuguese version would be great. Which email should I use to contact you?

  11. Dear Madame/Sir,
    Just a concern that you tend to problematise the herbivores in this pamphlet. Herbivores are main drivers of the open/semi-open landscapes, and in addition a key feature for strong populations of large carnivores. Naturally they inflict on anthropogenic interests, economically and socially, but is that really a concern for biological conservation and wilderness engagements?

    What would Serengeti be without the wildebeests? What would the North American plains have been without the bison (well, that we know in part, and its not very pretty).

    All the best

    Carl-Gustaf Thulin
    Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

  12. Dear Ondrej Vitek, we would be more than happy to publish a Czech version of the poster too. Your help is highly appreciated.

    Should there be other readers, who want to contribute and translate the poster to a language that is currently not available, please get in touch with the European Wilderness Society!

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Join more 100+ forest experts demanding a radical change in German forestry management.

Sign the Open Letter to the German Federal Minister of Forestry and Agriculture

Open Letter to the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Federal Ministry of
Food and Agriculture
Minister Julia Klöckner
11055 Berlin

Dear Minister Klöckner,

The current situation of the forest in Germany is worrying. It is a forest crisis not only driven by climate change. The current crisis management of the forestry industry is backward-looking and harmful to the forest. The declaration announced at the meeting of ministers in Moritzburg can be described as a `Moritzburg declaration of bankruptcy´. We call on the state forestry industry to, instead of expensive rushed actions, finally carry out an expert analysis of its own work and to involve all stakeholders in this process. What is called for is a consistent departure from plantation forestry and a radical shift towards a management that treats the forest as an ecosystem and no longer as a wood factory.

On 1stAugust 2019, five forestry ministers of CDU and CSU-led states adopted a so-called “master plan” for the forest in Germany, which was affected by heat, bark beetles, fire and drought. As of 2020, the federal government is to make 800 million euros available as a reaction to climate change. This money is to be used to repair the damage caused, reforest the damaged areas and carry out `climate-adapted´ forest conversion – including the use of non-native tree species that have not yet been cultivated in the forest. Research should therefore focus on on tree species suitability and forest plant breeding in the future – keyword: `Climate-adapted forest of the future 2100´.

Remarkably, the damage caused primarily by the extreme drought of 2018 is attributed solely to climate change. Climate change is meeting a forest that is systemically ill due to the planting of non-native tree species, species poverty, monocultures, uniform structure, average low age, mechanical soil compaction, drainage etc. A healthy, resistant forest would look differently! The master plan emphasizes: sustainable, multifunctional and `active´ forest management remains indispensable – and thereby means that its unnatural state cannot be changed. Reference is made to the `carbon storage and substitution effects´ of wood products. The use of wood, e.g. in the construction industry, should be increased and thus the demand for wood should be further fueled – while knowing that the forest in Germany already cannot meet this demand. In fact, forest owners are suffering from poor timber prices due to an oversupply of trunk wood on the world market.

All these demands make clear: the current forestry strategy, which has been practiced for decades, should not change in principle. The concept is simple: cut down trees – plant trees. At best, the `design´ of the future artificial forests consisting of perfectly calculated tree species mixtures, that are believed to survive climate change without damages, can be changed. In all seriousness, the intention is to continue selling the public a so-called `future strategy´ to save the forest. This strategy seamlessly follows the model of a wood factory, that is met with general rejection and must be regarded as a failure in view of the coniferous plantations that are currently collapsing on a large scale. An essential part of the forests that have currently died is exactly the part that was reestablished in 1947 as coniferous monocultures on a much larger area than today. There is only one difference to the situation at the time: considerable amounts of money are to be made available from taxes for forest owners this time.

Climate change is progressing, and this, without a doubt, has massive impacts on all terrestrial ecosystems, including forests. To pretend that the last two years of drought alone caused the disaster is too cheap. On closer inspection, the disaster is also the result of decades of a forestry focused on conifers – in a country that was once naturally dominated by mixed deciduous forests. People do not like to admit that for more than 200 years they have relied on the wrong species of commercial tree (spruce) and have also created artificial, ecologically highly unstable and thus high-risk forest ecosystems. A whole branch of business has become dependent on coniferous wood. And now the German coniferous timber industry is on the verge of bankruptcy.

It would only have been honest and also a sign of political greatness if you and the forestry ministers in Moritzburg had declared: Yes, our forestry industry has made mistakes in the past, and yes, we are ready for a relentless analysis that takes into account not only purely silvicultural, but also forest-ecological aspects. Instead, you have confined yourselves to pre-stamped excuses that are already familiar to everyone and that lack any self-critical reflection.

Clear is: We finally need resting periods for the forest in Germany, which has been exploited for centuries. We need a new, ecologically oriented concept for future forest – not a hectic `forest conversion´, but simply forest development closer towards nature. This gives the forest as an ecosystem the necessary leeway to self-regulate and react to the emerging environmental changes. We need a systemic forest management that is no less profitable than the present one, but must be substantially more stable and resistant to foreseeable environmental changes. The aid for forest owners that all citizens are now required to pay through their taxes is only politically justified in the interest of common good, if the forests of the future that are being promoted by it, do not end up in the next disaster, some of which is produced by the forest management itself.

That is why the signatories request from the the Federal Government, and in particular you, Mrs Klöckner, a master plan worthy of the name:

On disaster areas (mainly in public forests!) reestablishment through natural forest development (ecological succession), among other things with pioneer tree species, is to be brought about. In private forests, ecological succession for reestablishment must be purposefully promoted. Larger bare areas should be planted with a maximum of 400 to 600 large plants of native species per hectare in order to permit ecological succession parallelly.
To promote ecological succession, the areas should no longer be completely and mechanically cleared; as much wood as possible should be left in the stand (to promote optimum soil and germ bed formation, soil moisture storage and natural protection against browsing). In private forests, the abandonment of use in disaster areas should be specifically promoted for ecological reasons and in order to relieve the burden on the timber market.

Regarding the promotion of reestablishment plantings in private forests: priority for native tree species (of regional origin); choose wide planting distances in order to leave enough space for the development of pioneer species. For the forests of the future: Minimize thinning (low-input principle), build up stocks through targeted development towards old thick trees, protect the inner forest climate / promote self-cooling function (should have highest priority due to rapidly progressing climate change!), prohibit heavy machinery, refrain from further road construction and expansion, permit and promote natural self-regulatory development processes in the cultivated forest and on (larger) separate areas in the sense of an compound system; drastically reduce the density of ungulate game (reform of hunting laws).

Like in the field of organic agriculture, which has been established since the 1980s, the crisis of our forests should be the reason today to transform at least two existing forestry-related universities. They should be turned into universities for interdisciplinary forest ecosystem management. This is a contribution not only to the further development of forestry science and silviculture in Germany, but also of global importance! The goal must be to produce wood through largely natural forest production and to start with it here in Germany, the birthplace of forestry.


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