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Spurring INnovations for Forest ECosystem SERvices in Europe

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - SINCERE (Spurring INnovations for Forest ECosystem SERvices in Europe)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

Forests are a crucial reservoir of biodiversity, help mitigating climate change, and provide biomass for the bioeconomy. All these goods and services can be subsumed under the concept of ecosystem services. Yet, providing forest ecosystem services is not without challenges. For instance, urban societies may perceive forests predominantly as natural space for recreation, while the forest industry is most interested in wood supplies, suggesting different management actions. Tradeoffs between ecosystem services thus need to be managed, to align the provision of forest ecosystem services with multiple societal demands – a key challenge for forest management and policy across Europe. Changing ecological forest conditions, most importantly climate change, add to this challenge.
SINCERE’s main goal is to advance innovative mechanisms that support the provision of forest ecosystem services across Europe and beyond, and to make recommendations for a coordinated, supportive policy framework. SINCERE implements 11 practical innovation actions that involve alternative business models (e.g. a licensed mushroom-picking forest) or new governance mechanisms (e.g. payments for ecosystem services systems). SINCERE connects actors across the practical action cases (forest managers, businesses) to the scientific knowledge (researchers) and policy sphere (decision-makers) to tackle the following objectives:
1) Provide improved knowledge about innovations related to forest ecosystem services;
2) Develop and advance concrete “innovation actions” for providing forest ecosystem services, establishing a collaborative “Learning Architecture” across cases and countries.
3) Support the implementation of innovation actions by analyzing their sustainability and scalability;
4) Analyze how EU policies can better enhance innovations for forest ecosystem services.
5) Disseminate project-generated knowledge towards multiple communities, ranging from businesses to policy-making and civil society.
SINCERE has prepared an inventory of forest ecosystem services-related innovations, and has published a rigorous meta-study on global PES implementation and impacts. Further, we implemented a European-scale survey with forest owners and managers focusing on ecosystem services. We have advanced the implementation of the practical innovation actions involving multiple stakeholders, and also organized two thematic workshops across case studies. The practical implementation of innovative mechanisms has been supported by a sustainability assessment tailored to each case-study. An analysis of the policy frameworks for forest ecosystem services has been conducted, connecting local, national and EU-level. At the same time, preparations for synthesizing project results have progressed. Dissemination products tailored to each case-study area have been developed and key outcomes from the project have been shared via partner networks with EU-wide and global audiences. Finally, one general assembly and twenty-seven steering committee meetings have been held so far. The impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic on project implementation have been at the center of project management in this reporting period
The 'what works' meta-analysis of global PES studies has provided critical knowledge to support an increased uptake of PES schemes in Europe. Data of the European forest owner and manager survey allows mapping in detail the spacial distribution of supply of forest ecosystem services, their profitability, and the potential occurrence of related innovations, linked to data on forest and socioeconomic factors. We are putting forward a European map of forest ecosystem services supply that we believe to be of high political importance. As for the implementation work in our 11 innovation actions, valuable practical experience has been gained, for instance through implementing reverse actions for biodiversity conservation with private landowners in Denmark, supporting a new forest law for multiple ecosystem services in Russia, or advancing the business model of funeral forests in Switzerland. The sustainability assessment of these innovation actions provides a valuable tool also for future applications. Together, the knowledge gained forms the basis for a) assessing upscaling options for forest ecosystem services related innovations, and b) deriving recommendations for a future European policy framework.
Cultural services: Spiritual forests
1st Swiss MAG meeting
Sincere website screenshot
2nd Catalan MAG meeting
1st Russian MAG meeting
Regulating services: Forests for water
1st Swiss MAG meeting
Provisioning services: non-wood forest products
1st ECOPAY MAG meeting