Scanning the solutions for the sustainable supply of forest ecosystem services in Europe

Open access link: Scanning the solutions for the sustainable supply of forest ecosystem services in Europe

Forests are key components of European multifunctional landscapes and supply numerous forest ecosystem services (FES) fundamental to human well-being. The sustainable provision of FES has the potential to provide responses to major societal challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss, or rural development.

To identify suitable strategies for the future sustenance of FES, we performed a solution scanning exercise with a group of transdisciplinary forest and FES experts from different European regions. We identified and prioritized fifteen major challenges hindering the balanced provision of multiple FES and identified a series of potential solutions to tackle each of them. The most prominent challenges referred to the increased frequency and impacts of extreme weather events and the normative mindset regarding forest management. The respective solutions pointed to the promotion of forest resilience via climate-smart forestry and mainstreaming FES-oriented management through a threefold strategy focusing on education, awareness raising, and networking.

In a subsequent survey, most solutions were assessed as highly effective, transferable, monitorable, and with potential for being economically efficient. The implementation of the solutions could have synergistic effects when applying the notion of leverage points.

Seven emerging pathways towards the sustainable supply of FES have been identified. These pathways build on each other and are organized based on their potential for transformation: (1) shifting forest management paradigms towards pluralistic ecosystem valuation; (2) using integrated landscape approaches; (3) increasing forest resilience; (4) coordinating actions between forest-related actors; (5) increasing participation in forest planning and management; (6) continuous, open, and transparent knowledge integration; and (7) using incentive-based instruments to support regulating and cultural FES. These pathways can contribute to the implementation of the new EU Forestry Strategy to support the balanced supply of multiple FES.

Hernández-Morcillo, M., Torralba, M., Baiges, T., Bernasconi, A., Bottaro, G., Brogaard, S., Bussola, F., Díaz-Varela, E., Geneletti, D., Grossmann, C.M., Kister, J., Klingler, M., Loft, L., Lovric, M., Mann, C., Pipart, N., Roces-Díaz, J. V., Sorge, S., Tiebel, M., Tyrväinen, L., Varela, E., Winkel, G., Plieninger, T., 2022. Scanning the solutions for the sustainable supply of forest ecosystem services in Europe. Sustain. Sci. 2022 2, 1–17.

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