“The value of forest ecosystem services has been noticed and it is growing”
What’s the relationship between preserving and managing forest ecosystem services (FES) and having a forest with positive economic and social impacts?
The idea of forest ecosystem services is not brand new, but it is practical. It makes visible all the different services we can get from the forest. We do not need to speak of only of forestry and other services restriction to forestry. We could and can see all the variety of services given by a certain forest or a forest area.
The value of ecosystem service is depending on the local circumstances. The value and social impact can be measured by the money and the value added. Sometimes it is not possible. Then we must be able to discuss the value of ecosystem services using philosophical methods. We must meet people.
It is crucial that we maintain the flexibility to produce as vast variety of different ecosystem services in every forest. I would call this possibility preserving forest ecosystem services. The managing of ecosystem services includes all the action to produce services and develop them as a part of business and bioeconomy.
Which are the paths to improve on forest ecosystem services and how are you preparing/doing them?
The discussion with different parties and stakeholders will show what kind of services are important. Also, the interaction between different forest ecosystem services is important to know. So, networking is important, we do not know alone.
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 forest ecosystem services? If not, what do you think that is still missing?
We are clearly moving, but we have a long way to go globally. The economic interests play an important role in the short run. The change from the fossil economy to bioeconomy is very difficult politically for the countries who are dependent on the fossil-based industry. We are ready to leave the oil reserves untouched and unused in the ground. Nothing is missing, but the mental change takes time. The change is complicated. The transition has many interconnections, side effects, both positive and negative. But to be realistic, something is missing, the clear picture of the future.
Can you describe as simply as possible what is your organization’s role in SINCERE and why did you get involved in the project?
The Finnish Forestry Centre has a good network including private forests owners, forest service providers, forest companies and scientific organisations. The forest database with information on the growing stock, soil, and valuable biotopes cover all the forests and could be used in designing new ecosystem services and piloting various paying mechanisms for those services. But the main reason is that the forest as a whole, is such an important source of sustainable goods and services and it has a prominent role in cultural and social wellbeing. The value of forest ecosystem services has been noticed and it is growing.