“The survival of mankind depends on nature and a healthy environment, with forests having a big role in the process”
How important is it for policy makers, governments, business and wider society to understand the benefits forests can provide us?
It is very important that all – politics, the government, business sector and wider public – understand benefits that the forest provides. We can take care of something only when we completely comprehend it. Forests and forest land are of particular interest to the Republic of Croatia because, apart from the economic function, there are also different kinds of forest ecosystem services (FES). The survival of mankind depends on nature and a healthy environment, with forests having a big role in the process. This is why it is important to work on the promotion of FES.
In your opinion which are the paths to improve on FES and what type of impacts should these have on forest management?
Nature itself is invaluable and ecosystem services represent a priceless benefit to society. Some of the ways to improve FES include: natural and well-preserved forests, transformation of degraded areas into forests, use of new technologies/modernization that is not in conflict with biodiversity conservation guidelines, etc. Possible impacts on forest management could be: increased cost of work, higher cost of forest cultivation, reduction of wood mass exploitation. It would be crucial for forest managers to focus on secondary forest products (e.g. fruit, biomass, recreation, etc.) and benefits they may have.
How can innovation related to forest can help tackle climate change?
Climate change has a wide impact on both human and natural systems. In the context of climate change, forests have an irreplaceable role in carbon capture and sequestration, thus reducing the impact of greenhouse effect and climate change in general.
Forests in the Republic of Croatia are of great importance for tourism as well. Healthy forests imply a healthy environment. Trying to find a way to charge different FES represents money which can be invested into afforestation, remediation of natural disasters, fire protection, etc. All of this positively affects climate change problems, but unfortunately in Croatia there is still a lack of understanding FES on the part of society, which is why it will be difficult to implement any kind of payment for ecosystems services (PES).
In your opinion, are we close to the transition from a fossil-based economy towards a bioeconomy that is based on the entire spectrum of FES? If not, what do you think that is still missing?
Technologically, I think that humanity is completely ready to use alternative energy, but it will take some time to leave the fossil economy. The reason why I say so is a strong oil lobby that has a great influence on the world politics.