First steps for implementing Payments for Environmental Services

The SylvaMED project aims to respond to the challenge of the supply and financing of environmental services provided by forests. Partners from different Mediterranean countries will test public-private schemes of Payments for Environmental Services (PES), focusing on the most crucial non-marketed forest goods and services from their area.

The SylvaMED project is progressing, as partners showed during the meeting in Chania. The previous meetings held this year (in Avignon-April and Ljubljana-June) allowed participants to bring ideas for pilot cases and exchange impressions on their feasibility and previous experiences. Partners have further explored the opportunities and constraints in their legal and cultural realities, held preliminary discussions with relevant stakeholders and have drafted the PES design.

P9292701_235x314.jpg : 89.9453125KbThe PES proposals comprise a very diverse set of initiatives. Catalan partners are studying the implementation of entrance fees for mushroom collection both in private and municipal forests; best practices to be adopted by forest owners in semi-arid zones for the improvement of water use efficiency will also be tested, in view of future compensation. Demonstrative experiences for erosion prevention are being contrasted in Liguria, a region where forests are seen as crucial for flood prevention. Cretan institutions are looking for synergies among the organizers of a famous mountain race, local municipalities and forest services, so that participants and sponsors will financially contribute to the maintenance of the paths and forests they cross. Slovenian studies look at the possibilities for social use of urban forests and the control and improvement of chestnut harvesting. Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, among other initiatives, is studying the development of sport facilities in private forests within an agreement between a local sport agency, a forest owner association and the public agency CRPF. Languedoc-Roussillon is catalyzing, amongst other things, the dialogue between a water bottling company and forest owners to put into practice a charter of water quality forestry actions; the entrance fee for motorized vehicles in private forests in a protected area is also being studied.

EFIMED is advising on PES design and communication among Mediterranean forest stakeholders. EFIMED has also edited the book, “What Science Can Tell Us: Water for Forests and People in the Mediterranean Region” as a guidance tool for decision-makers and practitioners in Payments for Watershed Services. The next steps include meetings with stakeholders, technical staff and local media with the aim of increasing citizens’ awareness and informing and encouraging forest owners.

The meeting in Chania included a field trip to the area of Anopoli where the Cretan studies are taking place.

On October 6th Elena Gorriz, from EFIMED, presented the project as part of the Forestry Days held by the Forest Ownership Center of Catalonia. She emphasized the appropriateness of the SylvaMED project for passing “from theory to practice” in the implementation of PES, the great challenge of improving social understanding and the interest in a scientific follow-up of the pilot cases.

Further information: Elena.gorriz(at)efi.int and www.sylvamed.eu

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