“We have to make decisions that bear in mind ‘people’, ‘planet’ and ‘profit’ – ‘the triple P approach’”
How can policy help tackle the main social demands (meaning growing populations and economies and increasing pluralistic and urbanised societies) and at the same time ensure sustainability of our forests?
This is a very relevant question for Flanders, an urbanised region where nature is very scattered. There is a constant need to re-think the use of our space, and to control and put limits on deposition that have negative effects on existing forests (industry, traffic, agriculture…). To promote sustainable forest management in Flanders we need:
- Qualitative frameworks for management plans based on “the triple P approach” that constantly seeks the fragile balance between people, planet and profit. This framework with criteria is part of legislation;
- Financial support for close to nature management and recreation in forests and nature areas based on management under such frameworks;
- Basic requirements in legislation and keeping flexibility for a pragmatic implementation of these principles;
- Supporting models for promoting structural cooperation between landowners (the system in Flanders is called ‘bosgroepen’) in order to scale-up management planning from the individual level to the landscape level;
- To monitor the effects of environmental and social (e.g. recreational) pressure on management targets and overall forest condition;
How can governments influence people to understand the true value of forests and the importance of their ecosystem services?
- Showing examples of properly valuing biodiversity and ecosystem services (carbon sequestration; water quality; denitrification; pollination; health benefits; game…)
- Integrating these values into decision making processes and accounting and reporting systems nationwide
- Communication and awareness raising
- Education – ensure contact with nature and forests from the youngest age (schools are key)
- Setting the example and celebrating success of good practices, especially popular or bottom-up experiences
- Providing data to underscore the huge positive impact forests have on society
What is the best way for policy makers to balance the respect for sustainable forests, the needs of the population and the needs of business companies?
- Consultation, information, co-creation within a framework that has clear boundaries.
- Make sure that forest managers/lovers understand societal demands and needs from companies, engage the public and business companies in forest conservation and show the impact their activities can have on forests.
- Make decisions that bear in mind ‘people’, ‘planet’ and ‘profit’. Break down silo thinking between public departments and aim for coherence in all policy development.
- Provide a legal framework that explicitly strives for more diverse and robust forests.
- Promote sound systems for land use planning in a dynamic approach based on long-term goals that are part of an overall strategy for sustainable development.
In your opinion how can SINCERE project make a difference in forest management?
It bridges the gap between different sectors. It could lead to replacement of a rigid subsidy system by a mechanism that can lead to more efficient use of (public) money, to activities that better contribute to both forest conservation and ecosystem services, to better understanding (and therefore support) by the public of the importance of forest ecosystem services.