“Forests help us face climate change in myriad ways”
Which are the main paths to innovate on forest ecosystem services (FES)?
An important path to innovate on FES is through a better integration of the multiple sectors and actors that benefit from FES or influence them. In this sense, landscape or “territorial” management plans and policies are key paths for this integration but, while they have the capacity to connect sectors and actors, they often overlook ecosystem services. Approaching landscapes and territories through ecosystem services makes it possible to better understand and manage the multiple interactions between ecosystems and societies or between actors linked to these services at various scales.
How can innovation related to forest can help tackle climate change?
We must better recognize that forests help us face climate change in myriad ways. Forest ecosystem services play an important role in the two broad strategies for tackling climate change: mitigation and adaptation. They contribute to mitigation because of their capacity to remove carbon from the atmosphere and to store it, a well-documented ecosystem service. They also contribute to adaptation because they provide services that can help us adapt to both current climate hazards and future climate change. These “adaptation ecosystem services” are less often recognized than the “mitigation ecosystem service” (i.e, carbon) but there are many examples: forests and trees in agricultural landscapes regulate microclimate or protect soils for a more resilient food production, forests regulate water in catchments for reduced impacts of floods and droughts, coastal forests protect coastal areas from climate-related threats, urban forests and trees regulate temperature and water for resilient cities, and forests regulate rainfall at the continental scale.
Can you describe what is your organization’s role in SINCERE and why did you get involved in the project?
CIFOR will be involved in an innovation action in Peru, where there is a growing interest in mechanisms for the retribution of ecosystem services, particularly with regards to the hydrological services provided to drinking water facilities.