Forests are one of the most important natural resources in Europe and provide various valuable forest ecosystem services like wood production, biodiversity provision, recreational services and carbon storage. At present there is increasing societal demand for these services due to economic and population growth and a high level of urbanisation. Consequently, questions arise about future use and management of forest ecosystems that would satisfy both social and economic demands while being sustainable and ecologically in balance.

In response to these challenges, the SINCERE project was created. It seeks to connect knowledge and expertise from different actors across practical action (forest managers, business, public administration), scientific knowledge (researchers) and policy spheres (policymakers) in order to bring the multifunctional forest paradigm into practice. The main strategic goal of the project is to advance innovative mechanisms to enhance the sustainable supply of forest ecosystem services across Europe and beyond, and to align them with a supportive policy framework in order to design a coordinated Europe-wide incentive system for these services.

The project will focus on case studies across Europe and the world, ranging from an auction pilot for forest carbon and biodiversity targets in Belgium, to a Payment for Ecosystem Services scheme for wild forest products, water protection and recreation in Catalonia, Spain and payment for watershed services to cities in Peru.

SINCERE has 6 core objectives:

  1. Provide a robust evidence base of innovative mechanisms, integrating scientific and practical knowledge and considering both the supply and demand sides
  2. Build and run a Learning Architecture for continuous collaborative learning from promising innovation actions based on an interactive multi-actor approach specifically designed for SINCERE
  3. Develop and implement a concrete set of innovation actions, and analyse their performance for feedback into the implementation process and into the post-project tracking
  4. Synthesise the knowledge gained across all innovation action cases jointly with researchers, practitioners and policymakers, to enable upscaling of findings into transferable innovative mechanisms for possible replication in Europe and beyond
  5. Work in a participatory way towards a coordinated European policy framework that institutionalises the Learning Architecture and the continuous support for provision of forest ecosystem services
  6. Implement targeted communication and dissemination activities throughout the project’s timespan and beyond, including a web-based interactive toolkit for innovators in forest ecosystem services

The IUCN European Regional Office is involved as a partner in this project and leads on promoting awareness for forest ecosystem services and innovative mechanisms, capacity-building for stakeholders, making the connection to the international forest and conservation community, and providing support to policy- and decision-makers to integrate forest ecosystem services and innovative mechanisms in policy processes. To maximise the project’s impact and potential for replication, IUCN will ensure dissemination of project results and outcomes, as well as the project’s linkage with other relevant projects and platforms across Europe and globally.

The SINCERE project is co-funded by the Horizon 2020 programme of the European Union and is coordinated by the European Forest Institute, with the following participants: University of Copenhagen, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, University of Padua, Centre Technologic Forestal de Catalunya, Center for International Forestry Research, Prospex Institute, International Union for Conservation of Nature, Centre de Propietat Forestal, Ondersteunend Centrum van het Agentschap Natuur en Bos, Danish Forest Owner Association, ETIFOR srl., Consorzio per la Tutela dell’IGP Fungo di Borgotaro, Conselho Empresarial para o desenvolvimento sustentavel, Centre for Forest Ecology and Productivity of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Public Institution Nature Park Medvenica, Superintendencia Nacional de Servicios de Saneamiento, The Finnish Forest Centre, Diputacion foral de Bizkaia – Bizkaia government, and Pan Bern AG.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme

Photo: @EC

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 773702.

The project runs from 2018 to 2022.

For more information, please contact Chantal van Ham, EU Programme Manager Nature Based Solutions, [email protected]


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