“It is fundamental for everyone to understand what forests provide every day”
What’s the relationship between preserving and managing forest ecosystem services (FES) and having a forest with positive economic and social impacts?
It is well known that naturally managed forests provide much more FES compared to artificial ones, resulting in multiple benefits, both from economic and social points of view. A better knowledge of FES provided by forests can led to more proper management practices and keep the provision of FES constant. In this sense, a proper management is the basic condition to create a productive business, but it is not sufficient: it is also necessary to carefully consider the demand-side, as the most frequent reason for not achieving a functional business from FES is the lack of knowledge and involvement from potential buyers.
Which are the paths to improve on FES and how are you preparing/doing them?
The improvement of FES provision necessarily goes through their economic valorisation and the creation of local partnerships supporting their conservation. We are doing so in many different contexts, but when we approach a new case we try not to start with a prior idea of what should be the process and the conclusions, but we get to deeply know the context and build with the local communities a shared way, making a great effort in communicating in the right way to everyone.
How important is it for policy makers, governments, business and wider society to understand the benefits forests can provide us?
It is fundamental for everyone to understand what forests provide every day. There are different reasons for that, based on the role in the society: for governments and policy makers, taking into account the full contribution of forests to human benefits can better orient their choices in terms of maintaining/protecting such ecosystems. Also, they can have a major role in the creation of innovative financing mechanisms, as intermediaries or regulators. Business sector can find many benefits from, for example, green marketing strategies or many kinds of compensations. Finally, a more aware society would be more respectful and well disposed towards financing, with a little contribution, different types of conservation actions.
Imagining yourself at the end of SINCERE project, in 2021, describe what were the best results SINCERE had in your region?
We expect to widen the approach we are using in the Innovation Action and to refine it and make it replicable in other contexts. By doing so, we’re spreading certified forests and related FES in an area intensively cultivated, maintaining and improving both social and economic benefits.