SINCEREly worth a look!

The European project Spurring INnovations for forest eCosystem sERvices in Europe (SINCERE) is officially launched. SINCERE is a four year project on the variety of ecosystem services provided to people by our forests. Funded through the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and coordinated by the European Forest Institute, the project aims at contributing to a potential foundation for a new European forest related policy.

SINCERE is all about ecosystem services related to forests – with a focus on but not limited to European forests. Ecosystem Services in short are goods and services which benefit society. They are multifaceted and reveal themselves in many ways – from economic over material to health and emotional contributions. You can check out our introductory video for a more detailed explanation.

While you may immediately think of carbon sinks, water cycle and wood biomass, forests are also associated with cultural and spiritual benefits. autumn-1021322_640

The perspective on forests as something that is much more than only biomass is very much at the heart of the head of EFI’s Resilience Programme and SINCERE’s coordinator Georg Winkel, who has been with the project since its very first steps. Forests have a lot to offer while having to meet a multitude of expectations of different societies. SINCERE will contribute to balancing all of these demands for forest ecosystem services and look at innovative ways to value and implement them.

The project will incorporate expertise and knowledge from practice, science and policy to develop novel policies and new business models related to forest ecosystem services from 2018 to 2022. Scientists, practitioners and policy makers will come together in various workshops and multi-stakeholder meetings to advance innovations related to the entire spectrum of forest ecosystem services.

Key local stakeholders, such as forest / land owners and managers, forest users, local authorities, entrepreneurs and forest-owner associations present their case studies and will take part in designing, implementing, evaluating and learning from different innovations. fungus-1194380_640

Their case studies cover a broad spectrum ranging from mushroom picking permits, over establishing a legal framework for forest ecosystem services to creating incentives for private forest owners to protect biodiversity, to name only a few.

Another important output of SINCERE will be an inventory of innovative mechanisms concerning existing policies, regulations and business models supporting forest ecosystem services, ultimately leading to the development of the first comprehensive European database for Innovation Mechanisms.

Incorporating inventory and case studies will enable establishing a learning architecture, covering ecosystem services as various as possible, where new solutions can be developed, tested and analysed – leading to a state of the art synthesis report (2020) on good practice design and implementation of Innovative Mechanisms in the European context.

Ideally in the end, “the project will lay the fundament for a new European forest related policy that provides powerful incentives to innovate with the entire spectrum of forest ecosystem services – through scientific knowledge and compelling practical examples and experience,” says Winkel.

The newly launched SINCERE website contains more detailed background information, for experts as well as for an audience which is not as familiar with the topic. In the near future, it will display updates on case studies and on important developments of Innovation Actions. The blog will feature interviews with researchers and practitioners providing info on their contexts as well as reflections on stakeholder meetings, taking place this fall.

So make sure to stay tuned.


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