UNIQUE forestry and land use GmbH is a leading international consulting firm that provides expert services and advice on forest management and sustainable land use.
Our company strives for the development and implementation of intelligent and environmentally sound land use practices and policies that form the basis for sustainable rural development. UNIQUE´s extensive international background ensures a continuous exchange of knowledge and experiences - across borders and continents. Since our establishment in 1998, we have carried out over 500 projects in more than 60 countries. Our clients are both private companies and non-governmental organizations, as well as public institutions such as ministries, forest administrations, development banks and organizations implementing development cooperation.
Selected recent projects
Management of biosphere reserves, Ethiopia
- 12/2015 - 07/2019
Ethiopia is home to rich biodiversity, which is highly threatened inside and outside designated protected areas. The national institutions for the management of protected areas have not been able to effectively implement conservation policies. As a result, the protection and sustainable use of biodiversity is not well managed on a wide scale. Within the framework of the project "Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Management of Natural Resources for Livelihoods in Ethiopia," GIZ supports the Ethiopian government in capacity development for effective management of protected areas. Commissioned in consortium with NABU (Naturschutzbund Deutschland e.V), UNIQUE is responsible for strengthening the capacities of two regional governments for the management of the Yayu and Sheka biosphere reserves.
- Technical advice in biosphere reserve management.
- Consultation regarding income-generating activities in biosphere reserves.
- Advice to integrate the biosphere reserve concept in the National Protected Areas System.
- Organizational development of partners at local, regional and national level.
- Human capacity development of key actors.
- Facilitation of multi stakeholder platforms and networks.
Forest, Wood and the society, Europe
- 05/2014 - 10/2016
- Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V.
Growing environmental awareness and social interest in sustainability has brought increased attention to the forestry sector. Faced with the challenges posed by climate change, the forestry and wood sectors offer a significant sustainable source of raw materials and woody biomass for energy. The role of the forestry sector is vital for the much-needed transformation towards a bio-economy, and this message needs to be clearly communicated to outside parties. In this context, the WoodWisdom project developed and implemented communication strategies to illustrate the importance of the European forestry-wood sector, including its contributions to the transition towards a more sustainable society. UNIQUE was commissioned to develop WoodWisdom’s communication strategy for Germany in collaboration with the Agency for Renewable Resources (FNR).
- Application of the actor-centered "living lab" method for knowledge transfer and topic selection
- Conducting workshops with stakeholders of the forest sector for the selection of relevant topics
- Analysis and evaluation of communication strategies
- Design of the project website w3b-wood.eu for communication experiments and project presentation
- Planning and control of a national social media campaign
- Project-related public relations
Forest management planning, Germany
- 03/2014 - 05/2015
- Forst BW Freiburg
Forest management plans are the key tool for controlling and planning forestry activities for the public forests in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg. These plans outline the harvesting operations, tree maintenance and regeneration measures for the next 10 years based on knowledge regarding the state of the forest. Management plans seek to find the right balance between trade-offs such as timber production, protection and tourism. Since 2008 UNIQUE prepared management plans for 7.000 hectare of state and 13.000 hectare of municipal forests. UNIQUE’s expertise includes the development of management plans that resulted in positive benefits related to environmental services, especially biodiversity (e.g. Wutach gorge, bog forests or Rhine plain forests).
- Analysis of sample plot inventories, with focus on small and medium forest enterprises.
- Site-inspection with responsible foresters.
- New delineation of stands, actualization of stand data, gathering of ecological data.
- Assessment of previous management and accounting.
- Coordination of operative and ecological planning.
- Data input, data validation and approval by the administration.
- Explanation of results with local council and mayor (site inspection with formal resolution).
Drivers of deforestation, worldwide
- 05/2014 - 04/2016
- Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit
Public funding for REDD+ alone will not be sufficient to effectively address drivers of deforestation. A promising option is to channel private sector investments in activities that reduce pressure on remaining forests. The aim of this project is to develop sustainable business models in the land use sector in line with the logic of REDD+. The project falls under the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Buildings and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) International Climate Initiative (ICI). Leading the consortium with Climate Focus, UNIQUE conducted this long-term project in three phases: (i) country scoping and pre-feasibility studies, (ii) business model development and feasibility studies and (iii) technical and institutional support for implementation of the most promising business model.
- Comprehensive analysis of drivers, agents and underlying causes of deforestation.
- Spatial analysis of Oromia to stratify the region into priority landscapes for intervention.
- Detailed analysis of drivers and strategy options, including cost assessment, in priority areas.
- Capacity building for national counterparts to ensure program viability and sustainability.
- Beyond forest sector, assessment of key commodities causing deforestation using value chain approach
Forest Management Livelihoods, worldwide
Management Support for Livelihoods Fund
- 04/2012 - 12/2012
- Livelihoods Venture
The Livelihoods Fund, managed by Livelihoods Venture, is a unique vehicle to create social value for rural communities and contribute to their food security through the restoration of their ecosystems. The impact of all programs supported by the Livelihoods Fund was assessed following the criteria of social and environmental impacts as well as carbon sequestration. UNIQUE was contracted to support the fund so that the investments could be certified according to the most rigorous social and carbon standards. Support was given throughout the development of the project pipeline from the elaboration of the Project Idea Note (PIN) to the Project Design Document (PDD) to the project’s registration process.
- Support of due diligence on economic and environmental parameters according to internal criteria.
- Ensure social and environmental integrity; certification support through social and carbon standards.
- Follow up of project development from PIN to PDD to registration and setting of milestones.
- Assessment of rural energy efficiency projects and their biomass components.
- Support of reforestation efforts in rural areas.
- Optimization of project cycle by capacity building and backstopping support.