– The main contribution of Sumforest has been building up trust in the funding organization and among the 23 participating organizations, Martin Greimel, coordinator of the forest research network Sumforest, says.
Martin Greimel is the scientific coordinator of Sumforest and has been managing the network together with the rest of the management committee. When it comes to the result of the work that everybody has put into the project, he is fast and sure about the answer.
– For the cause of the society Sumforest has been contributing to find solutions to pressing societal challenges like the climate change problem and the issue with lack of raw material.
Martin Greimel lives in Irdning, a small village in the alpine parts of Austria, and he works at the federal ministry of agriculture, forestry, environment and water management. He seems to be the right person to build networks among people. During the conference he is talking to and listening to people always with a big smile, taking part in discussions and answering questions, never lacking of enthusiasm. He takes part in the conference as a grounded, fast and knowledgeable moderator and gives space to express all opinions and different point of views. That he is used to this and probably likes it, is obvious. He gives well formulated answers to questions with no hesitation.
When he describes what has been unique with the Sumforest project, he acknowledges that there has been an explicit focus on policy making.
– Our main partner working in WP 3 Mapping strategies, policies and policy needs (EFI) has taken the background established in Sumforest to launch the ThinkForest initiative.
But he also underlines the international cooperation.
– It’s important to open up to the world, and that’s not unique to this project. Everybody wants to do that and talks about doing it but I think we have been successful in integrating for example the Eastern Partnership Countries and North African countries.
He also wants to note that the Sumforest project has been transdisciplinary. The participants have had various backgrounds and been able to contribute with a lot of different competences.
The future for the project is short. At the end of the year, the Sumforest project will close. But the people working with it are going to work for forest research in the framework of the new ERA-NET Cofund project ForestValue.
– The big difference for us will be that we will have more money, much more money, to use, Martin Greimel says with a big smile.
It seems to be a wise decision of the ForestValue administration to make use of the competence and experiences of the Sumforest coordinator and management committee.