The projects Integrate and Integrate+, the predecessors of INFORMAR, led to the emergence of a network of forest practitioners from across Europe. These people regularly meet to exchange their experiences and knowledge, building a peer-to-peer learning platform. This exchange is based on a real web of forest training sites and the matching I+ Software. The network is thriving and expanding, thanks to the continuous contacts and transfer of knowledge between partners. Marteloscope exercises are popular activities for practitioners who are hoping to learn from different approaches or want to set up their own training sites. Other meetings include workshops, discussions and continuous informal contacts between members.
One cornerstone of this network are the Integrate+ Marteloscopes; a chain of training sites for virtual forest management. A Marteloscope is a forest stand of roughly one hectare, in which every single tree has been inventoried and numbered. In the Integrate+ marteloscope network, information is collected on (1) tree species, (2) tree status as dead/alive, (3) forest mensuration data (dbh, tree height and crown base height), (4) timber quality and (5) tree related microhabitats using the tree microhabitat catalogue field guide. This information is then linked to a software application that can be used on-site to guide management decisions and to spur constructive discussion. Marteloscopes serve as a meeting point for many events and training of the practice network. Go to Marteloscope
Another building block is the Catalogue of Tree Microhabitats, which offers an accessible typology for identifying small and valuable structures for biodiversity. The Catalogue was developed by a group of top-level experts to serve as a field guide that people can easily use in the field. The vast array of existing tree microhabitats (TreMs) is subdivided into a few concise categories of saproxylic (cavities, injuries and wounds, bark, deadwood) and epixylic (deformations, epiphytes, nests) structures that can serve as shelter or home for different flora and fauna. The TreMs form the basis of the ecological assessment of the marteloscopes sites in the I+ software, where they are linked to the ecological valuation of each tree within a given marteloscope. The field guide can however also be used on its own as a handy support for determining valuable microhabitats during forest management. Go to Catalogue