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Capturing market trends and societal perceptions for tailor-made forest services

 

Forests provide invaluable benefits to people and the planet. They are biodiversity hubs and habitats, vital for climate and water regulation, soil stabilisation and the purification of air and water. Their carbon sequestration and storage capacity make them an important alley in the fight against climate change. Also, forests and the forest-based sector provide multiple socio-economic functions and benefits, including jobs and development possibilities in rural areas. Their role in providing food, medicines and materials and their value for recreation and learning from nature is indispensable for the transition to a circular bioeconomy and a healthy society.

However, there is an increasing demand on European forests to provide a high diversity of goods and ecosystem services at the same time. The choice of forest management can produce different outcomes for ecosystem services and productivity in the short and the long-term. Forest owners should consider possible trade-offs and synergies with regards to the multifunctional role of forests, their interaction with climate change and their role for biodiversity. Therefore, there is a need for balanced and integrative approaches to ensure ecosystem services in the long-term and to provide sufficient resources for a sustainable and circular bioeconomy, while at the same time, contributing to GHG emissions reductions and carbon removals to contribute to 2030 and 2050 EU climate targets.

This topic addresses new opportunities for primary producers to diversify the income by developing new sustainable business models.

Proposals will:

  • Set-up a transdisciplinary forum at the science-policy-society interface to regularly disseminate research results, discuss options for upscaling promising approaches (including technological needs and possible solutions) and collaborate with relevant policy makers, stakeholders and the wider public.
  • Explore the evolving societal demands under changing climate conditions for different forest goods and services in an interdisciplinary and integrative approach to improve the knowledge that will help to balance the demands while safeguarding forest’s capacities to deliver them in the best possible way.
  • Based on previous research results (.e.g. InnoForest[[ https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/763899.]], Sincere[[ https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/773702.]], etc.), improve the understanding of ecosystem service interactions at different temporal scales both short-term and long-term and consider relevant social, environmental and economic interdependencies and path dependencies.
  • Identify region and national specific market-driven approaches to create new or reactivate value chains and business models based on co-operation between forest owners, policymakers and users of ecosystem services with a view to develop tailor-made solutions and strengthen interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral cooperation.
  • Select a set of representative European PES cases, including carbon farming cases, with sufficient implementation length and data availability for a holistic impact evaluation.
  • Analyse and compare the data for contextualizing results vis-a-vis the existing literature on PES design and implementation, including carbon farming.
  • Improve existing and develop new business models to determine the value and possible funding of sustainable forest management, including through the valuation of ecosystem services such as biodiversity, non-wood products, carbon sequestration and storage, clean water supply, soil protection, recreation, health amenities etc.; and develop standardized methods for their valuation where needed with the goal to maximise sustainable benefit across ecosystem services.
  • Propose standards for measuring, assessing and valuating ecosystem services in different regional settings, which could lead to more efficient market mechanisms across Europe in support of forest management practices ensuring sustainable use and biodiversity conservation and restoration.
  • Promote and provide advice for the set-up of adequate payment schemes through private and public funding instruments at national and EU-level (including the CAP).

The project must implement the multi-actor approach and ensure an adequate involvement of the primary production sector and the wider forest-based value chain.

This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.