Inside perspective on the First Bizkaia MAG Meeting
Agents from different fields involved with payment for ecosystem services in Bizkaia met within the framework of the SINCERE project.
The first MAG meeting of the Bizkaia “case study” was organised by The Provincial Council of Bizkaia, in collaboration with the Union of Foresters of Southern Europe (Unión de Selvicultores de Sur de Europa, USSE) and MAS Abogados, a Spanish law consultancy. The idea was to have representation from the greatest diversity of agents involved in the recognition and payment for ecosystem services provided by forests, and to work together towards that recognition.
Agents in the fields of economics, law, environment, forestry and wood sector, university, research, education, science and culture attended the meeting.
The issues addressed included: the need for an Innovation Action in Bizkaia; main problems, challenges and needs in the provision of ecosystem services in Bizkaia; and how the implementation of an Innovation Action can help to improve the situation of ecosystem services in Bizkaia.
This initiative offers the opportunity for looking for the areas with the greatest potential for each objective of the territory and identifying the ownership of those areas. The challenge lies in the fact that the measurement or economic valuation of the different aspects of the environment is variable. It would be necessary to unite the environment and competitiveness.
The meeting produced several key outcomes:
- Wood resource is necessary.
- Regulatory ecosystem services are the most important; without biodiversity there are no services.
- Basque legislation on land management is too tax-intensive.
- We must influence society so that management is valued.
- Inclusion in private lands in Protected Natural Areas does not favour or encourage good management. Taxation can serve to reoccupy investments in sustainable forest management (GFS).
- The loss of profitability on private lands must be compensated.
- Payment for ecosystem services and production must live together and be compatible.
- The maintenance and management of the territory must face threats such as abandonment and lack of profitability, which leads to a lack of management that implies the increase in the possibility and virulence of biotic and abiotic risks.
In the following MAG meeting, it will be convenient to introduce the economic dimension, to introduce practical aspects, using examples from other case studies of the SINCERE project. Speakers with the profile of the environment and the economy, of the management of ecosystem services will be identified and the range of stakeholders will be completed.