URL: https://www.waldwissen.net/lernen/oeffentlichkeit/fva_sturmhandbuch_oeffentlichkeitsarbeit/index_EN
Originalartikel: Odenthal-Kahabka, J. (2005): Handreichung Sturmschadensbewältigung. Hrsg. Landesforstverwaltung Baden-Württemberg und Landesforsten Rheinland-Pfalz.
Autor(en): Jutta Odenthal-Kahabka
Online-Version: Stand: 13.08.2014
Redaktion: FVA, D

Public Relations after Storm Events

Due to storms, the damaged forest and the forestry industry receive a broad media response especially at the local level. Nevertheless, this first rush of enthusiasm ("only bad news is good news") is gone fast.

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".

Pressevertreter im Wald
Photo: FVA Freiburg.

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

Themes for continuous press releases during the first few weeks

Central authorities and forest offices:

Information to various associations

Seek media coverage following all appointments by issuing press releases or holding press briefings.

Appointments with policy makers

Further PR-measures

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
Timber market
  • Contact person timber sale
  • Summary of current sale negotiations
  • Current range of prices of sale contracts according to wood species
Forest work and personnel
  • Special "Storm" wage, travel expenses, separation compensation, holiday transfer etc.
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Supporting personnel from other state forest administrations
  • Visits from occupational safety specialists
  • Contract information including price ranges
  • Number of occupational accidents
  • State of processing/ amount of processed timber (attention: don’t rank by forest offices)
Current information ( from department of forestry and centre of state forest administration)
  • More personnel at department of forestry, introduce new staff and their availability
Financial support / subsidy
  • News from subsidy negotiations
Timber storage and haulage
  • Current state of timber storage
  • Contact persons/ specialists for timber storage and their availability.
  • Current information on haulage capacity
  • Storm damages in other (federal) states
  • Short information and calculations from research institutes, e.g. situation of small private forests after storm damages
  • (Short) reports of people affected, e.g. due to relocation

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