Public Relations after Storm Events
The initial interest ought to be used to arouse understanding and tolerance for timber processing issues and problems coping with storm damages. At the same time it’s possible to impart important messages about the processing of storm damaged timber e.g. "no timber without silvicultural measures".
Consider messages carefully. Rash words e.g. "the timber market has collapsed" doesn’t assist talks with timber buyers while comments such as "finally a chance for mixed stands" or "damages are home-made" undermines the position and competence of foresters.
Continuous public relations are extremely important especially when coping with storm damages. Forest offices are recommended to report regularly (at least once a month) in official bulletins or local newspapers on work progress.
Listed below are public relation suggestions and ideas for coping with storm damages. The responsible ministries, departments of forestry at the regional administrative authorities and the centre of state forest administration for Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rheinland-Pfalz respectively co-ordinate these activities.
PR-schedule –short and long term suggestions
Press, Radio and Television
- "Press-ride" with important policy makers e.g. responsible minister, possibly minister president, preferably from the centre of the storm damaged area. Themes: timber market, recreation, ecology, situation of private forest owners, "How to move on after the storm?", climate policy, relationship between society and forest.
- Exclusive offers to major magazines with guided tours on site (e.g. for Stern, Spiegel but also for local magazines)
- Features for specialised press
- Contact with broadcasters / TV- networks for a longer report in a magazine
- Try to get into TV-News especially public broadcasters ("Tagesschau", "heute" or local news broadcasts) as well as into breaking news bulletins
Themes for continuous press releases during the first few weeks
Central authorities and forest offices:
- Danger to forest visitors
- Decisions on amount and form of subsidies
- Forest damage compensation law
- Decisions on facilitation of timber transport
- Timber market (processing strategy, marketing strategy)
- Overall processing strategy; techniques and forest work (application of harvesters, wet storage, personnel from other federal states / foreign states etc.)
- Safety aspects, training of forest owners regarding processing of storm damaged timber
Information to various associations
- On-site meetings with non-governmental nature conservation societies and administrative nature conservation authorities, possibly together with the press
- Coordination meetings with SGDW (Association for protection of German Forests), Forstkammer (House of Forests), labour union, BDF (Union of German Foresters), Forstverein (forestry association), ANW (work group of foresters who advocate forest management based on natural processes).
- Talks with hunting associations
Seek media coverage following all appointments by issuing press releases or holding press briefings.
Appointments with policy makers
- Working group on agriculture and rural areas with political party representatives from the federal/state parliament (Landtag)
- Political committee chairpersons
- Committees for rural areas
- Touring exhibitions for forest offices and regional administrative authorities (Baden-Wuerttemberg) / centre of state forest administration (Rheinland-Pfalz) about storm damages
- Internet presence
Internal information and communication
It was shown during "Lothar" that when coping with catastrophes, that there was a lot of demand for (federal) state wide information by the forest offices and forest districts.
Therefore upper authorities decided to release a monthly intra-administrative newsletter "Sturminfo intern". This newsletter provided information about state-wide processing, transportation and storage etc. It enabled employees to look beyond their own local area of interest and be involved in the recovery Official decrees from upper administrations shouldn’t be replaced by this newsletter. Rather this newsletter was for items of special interest.
|Theme||Examples of potential contents|
|Forest work and personnel|
|Current information ( from department of forestry and centre of state forest administration)|
|Financial support / subsidy|
|Timber storage and haulage|
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