Which route should policymaking take? New pathways for Forest Ecosystem Services

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A new EFI Policy Brief sets out four policy pathways which can support our forests to provide the goods and services society demands.

Europe’s forests provide multiple forest ecosystem services (FES) including wood, carbon sequestration, habitats, and nature for recreation. Matching the variety of societal and political demands for FES with their supply is one of the main tasks for forest policy making in Europe, and the EU Green Deal provides strong momentum for policies to incentivise the provision of multiple FES.

Four policy pathways can translate this momentum into action and overcome current challenges:

Pathway 1: Systematically monitoring ecosystem services supply and demand by combining monitoring technologies can overcome the current information gap, and help see how ecosystem services provision can adapt due to climate change.
Pathway 2: Facilitating enhanced policy integration can help overcome polarisation in forest policy between environmental/conservation concerns and forest use interests, as well as resolving ambiguous and conflicting regulatory frameworks.
Pathway 3: Developing Payments for Ecosystem Services can help to combat the missing alignment between societal demands (eg as habitat for species), and owners supply (as they generate most income from wood).
Pathway 4: Enabling bottom-up participation and learning among innovators can help to combat the fact that forests and forest management are highly diverse across Europe, constraining one-size-fits-all solutions.

“These policy pathways are not mutually exclusive, but often complementary parts of a larger policy framework”, says Georg Winkel, lead author of the policy brief and the respective research paper the brief is based on.

The policy brief reflects on the work of the SINCERE project (Spurring INnovations for forest eCosystem sERvices in Europe) which was funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. The project aimed to bring forest ecosystem services into focus for policy, practice, research and business, and investigated the incentives and innovation needed to support forests to provide the goods and services society demands.

More information

Download the policy brief: https://doi.org/10.36333/pb3 

Winkel, G., Lovrić, M., Muys, B., Katila, P., Lundhede, T., Pecurul, M., Pettenella, D., Pipart, N., Plieninger, T., Prokofieva, I., Parra, C., Pülzl, H., Roitsch, D., Roux, J-L., Thorsen, B.J., Tyrväinen, L., Torralba, M., Vacik,H., Weiss, G., Wunder, S.. 2023. How to govern Europe’s forests for multiple Forest Ecosystem Services. Policy Brief 3. European Forest Institute https://doi.org/10.36333/pb3

Check out the full research paper: Winkel, G., Lovrić, M., Muys, B., Katila, P., Lundhede, T., Pecurul, M., ... & Wunder, S. (2022). Governing Europe's forests for multiple ecosystem services: Opportunities, challenges, and policy options. Forest Policy and Economics, 145, 102849. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.forpol.2022.102849

 

Photo: ©ivan kmit / AdobeStock

 

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