Further steps to success for new offers of cultural ecosystem services: fourth MAG meeting in Switzerland

The fourth and the last Multi-Actor-Group meeting (MAG) of the Swiss case study on funeral forests took place on 22 April 2021. As for the previous MAG meetings, stakeholders from practice, research, NGOs as well as from regional and national government were present. In total 17 participants attended the meeting.

The main objectives were to reflect on the key results from the SINCERE project, get to know the canvas for sustainable business models and draw conclusions for disseminating the results in Switzerland. The workshop was an online meeting due to the current situation but was nevertheless very interactive with several plenary discussions and two roundtables where all participants could share their experiences and argumentations on the funeral forest and the importance of the cultural services for forestry and society.

The first part of the workshop was dedicated to the results and experiences from the SINCERE project with presentations on the importance and growing interest of the cultural forest ecosystem services in Europe and Asia. It also covered the solution scanning process for sustainable supply of forest services followed by an intervention on challenges and consequences for forest politics.

The second part of the workshop focused on the concrete implementation of funeral forests. Experiences from Germany and Ireland as well as the SINCERE Swiss case study were presented. Societal needs around funerals are undergoing significant change in Europe. The proportion of cremations continues to increase; this is also associated with a greater need for natural burials. In the discussion, both the operational challenges and the expedient and innovation-promoting framework conditions at the state level were addressed. It became clear that the number of challenges is large and that a broad mix of instruments is needed.

The feedback from participants was very positive. This SINCERE case study on funeral forests is bringing innovation and inspiration to the Swiss forestry community which showed great interest in this meeting to further implement the lessons learned concerning cultural forest ecosystem services.

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