Inspiring Short Scientific Visit at EFIMED

Alessandro Leonardi visited EFIMED in Barcelona to complete his Short Scientific Visit (SSV) on testing the viability of payments for hydrological services in Europe.

Every year EFIMED lunches a call for SSV scholarships open to researchers and PhD students all over the Mediterranean. This programme allows the awarded researchers to move to another institution in a Mediterranean country in order to learn new techniques and achieve specific research goals.

Alessandro Leonardi visited EFIMED in Barcelona to complete his SSV on testing the viability of payments for hydrological services in Europe: A research on case studies from the EU, with a focus on Italy and UK.

Here he describes his visit:

I’m currently a PhD candidate of forest economics at the Department of Land Environment Forestry and Agriculture (University of Padova, Italy) and for my Short Scientific Visit I planned to move to the EFIMED offices in Barcelona. I’m glad my application was positively evaluated and I was able to spend three weeks working with Nicolas Robert (EFIMED), a high profile forest economist.

My PhD thesis is about “Testing the viability of payments for hydrological services in Europe” and collaborating with EFIMED was a great opportunity to collect information about case studies around the EU and receive some very deep and inspiring scientific assistance.

Working closely with Nicolas enabled me to strengthen the adopted methodology and to critically analyse the framework I’ve developed to assess the selected case studies. I also had the opportunity to communicate the preliminary results of the research through:

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• Presenting a poster at the International Workshop - Evaluating Forest Conservation Initiatives: New Tools and Policy Needs.
• Submitting an abstract to IUFRO 2014 conference which has been accepted for an oral presentation.
• Organising a seminar at EFIMED: Understanding Payments for Hydrological Services in EU – Preliminary results from a comparative case studies analysis.

Overall the activities and goals of the work plan were successfully achieved. The experience at EFIMED allowed to me to receive a very important contribution to the theoretical and case study analysis within my PhD thesis. The outputs of the work are reflected within the text of the final report.

Photo: Mary Hirsch

Apart from the scientific goals, the short scientific visit enabled me to meet the team and work in the environment of an international institution on forest science and policy. Participating at the coordination meetings and the meeting with the Head of EFIMED was useful in understanding the network and to plan future follow up synergies and possible projects. Hopefully this visit was just the start for a future fruitful collaboration in the field of social economics, forest and water which is one of the common area of interests of both EFIMED and University of Padova.

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