InnoForESt – Innovation für Wald-Ökosystemleistungen

Bathroom furniture from regional wood
Bathroom Furniture from regional wood – Fa. Schmeißl/Steinbach am Ziehberg

Project title: Smart information, governance and business innovations for sustainable supply and payment mechanisms for forest ecosystem services

InnoForESt seeks to spark a transformation of the European forest sector by stimulating innovations for the sustainable supply and financing of forest ecosystem services.

The overarching objective of InnoForESt is to steer policies and businesses through the establishment of new actor alliances and payment schemes in the forestry sector demonstrating the feasibility of alternative income streams from forest ecosystem services not yet harnessed by traditional markets. InnoForESt has established four specific objectives to be targeted:

  • synthetizing information on forest ecosystem service provision
  • understanding success factors of novel policy and business models
  • upgrading, upscaling and mainstreaming
  • provisioning of policy and business recommendations

The expected impacts of InnoForESt are

  • enhanced coordination in policy making
  • development of novel policies and business processes
  • increased incentives for the sustainable supply of essential forest ecosystem service
  • sustainable production of wood and non-wood forest products

Why InnoForESt?
Forests are the backbone of our environment and our livelihood. They are a habitat for numerous plant and animal species, a place of recreation and an attraction for tourism. Forests filter air and water, prevent avalanches and landslides. They store carbon in trees and soils and thus protect our climate. And last but not least, they supply valuable wood as a sustainable renewable resource. In science, these advantages are referred to as „forest ecosystem services“. Securing their supply in the future requires new and unconventional approaches in forest management, in the economy in general and supporting political measures.
The InnoForESt project aims to identify, improve and disseminate promising innovative ideas that will benefit forest and forest-related enterprises, citizens and future generations.

Detailed project description
Throughout Europe, forest stakeholders are exploring new ways to reconcile the provision of forest ecosystem services with societal demands and economic necessities. A selection of six European initiatives forms the core of the project. They serve as good and successful practical examples, as network partners for exchange and as case studies for scientific analysis.
The project brings together 16 partner organisations from nine EU countries. The consortium includes forest and environmental administrations, wood processing and consulting companies, hunting associations, forest enterprises, landowners and other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as European universities and research institutes. All partners are experienced in researching and developing novel policy and business models for forest ecosystem services. Through the close interaction of research and practice, InnoForESt will identify promising examples for the provision of diverse forest ecosystem services, learn from them and explore their opportunities and limitations.

The project also aims to explore the potential of transferring innovation to other regions or countries across Europe. The main aim is to identify influencing factors and framework conditions for a reliable establishment of innovation. Novel networks of actors within and outside the forestry sector will develop recommendations for decision-makers in politics and practice. Our networks are open to further innovators and ideas. In each case study region, „platforms for innovation“ will be established. They are intended to facilitate cooperation and knowledge transfer. We invite all those who (want to) deal with innovation for the provision of forest ecosystem services to participate in our project activities.

Future project activities

  • Internationale project meeting von 29. – 31. October 2019

Previous project activities
So far, interviews with stakeholders, focus groups and two workshops have been conducted in the Eisenwurzen research region. The resulting innovation ideas as well as the workshop protocols and keynote speeches are available for download here.

Project partners
Hochschule für nachhaltige Entwicklung Eberswalde, HNEE, Deutschland / Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V., ZALF, Deutschland / Suomen ympäristökeskus, SYKE, Finnland / Università degli Studi di Trento, UNITN, Italien / Centrum transdisciplinarnych studiicetio N.O., CETIP SK, Slowakei / Forstliche Versuchs- und Forschungsanstalt Baden-Württemberg, FVA, Deutschland / Universiteit Twente, UT, Niederlande / Lunds Universitet, ULUND, Schweden / Universität Innsbruck, UIBK, Österreich / European Landowners Organization, ELO ASBL, Belgien / Studienzentrum für internationale Analysen (STUDIA), Österreich/ Suomen metsäkeskus – Finlands skogscentral, FFC, Finnland / Stiftung Akademie für Nachhaltige Entwicklung Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, ANE, Deutschland / Provincia autonoma di Trento, PAT, Italien / IREAS, Institut pro Strukturalni Politiku OPS, IREAS CZ, Tschechische Republik / Universeum AB, Universeum, Schweden

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 under the Grant Agreement number 763899, InnoForESt project, within the Innovation Action.
Budget: 4,019 Mio. EURO
Procet duration: 11/2017 – 10/2020

Wolfgang Baaske

Twitter: @ InnoForESt[:]