Understanding the health functions of peri-urban forests in protected areas and Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES)

Public Institution Nature Park Medvednica (PINPM)

More than a million inhabitants visit Nature Park Medvednica. The main goal of this case is to ensure that all stakeholders and park visitors recognise the benefits of forests for their health.

The Public Institution for the Nature Park Medvednica will evaluate health as a component of forest ecosystem services and will develop several scenarios for payments for ecosystem services, which will be mechanisms to pay for health as a benefit of forest ecosystem services. However, before implementing a payment, a campaign to raise public awareness about forest ecosystem services is necessary to overcome the lack of information.

The SINCERE project will allow the Public Institution for the Nature Park Medvednica to evaluate benefits from forest ecosystem services in the nature protection sector, which has not been done to date. In addition, the project offers an opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience regarding forest ecosystem services with other EU countries. This case will provide a unique and innovative way of evaluating health and establishing a useful payment for ecosystem services mechanism, as well as empowering future management of the protected area. It may also allow some programmes to be launched in cooperation with health institutions on activities related to human health and rehabilitation.

The main stakeholders in these activities will be sports associations, providers of accommodation services in Natural Park Medvednica, the Croatian Forestry company and various public institutions related to health. PINPM is supported by the Institute for Development and International Relations in fulfilling the tasks related to this study, especially when it comes to developing payment for ecosystem services mechanisms.

Marina Popijač