Project Consortium

     INTEGRAL Partners,  Cross-Project Meeting in Dublin 2014  INTEGRAL Consortium   The INTEGRAL consortium consists of 21 partners from 13 countries. Due to the inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary nature of the project, the team involves experts with different disciplinary backgrounds and research interests inter alia...

  • Project Consortium

  • Policy Briefs

  • INTEGRAL Newsletter Issue 10/2015

LjuskOlaEriksson4 mini   __  

Dear Readers,

INTEGRAL is an exceptionally timely project in regards to the many ongoing policy processes at the European and national levels. Through participatory processes in 20 landscapes in 10 countries, INTEGRAL provides a coherent process of policy formation for the integrated management of European forest landscapes. This newsletter features an article that connects the aims and impacts of INTEGRAL with ongoing policy processes. INTEGRAL builds on a three-phased process. The first phase of INTEGRAL consists of a thorough mapping in each landscape of stakeholder and management attitudes and motivations, as well as social, economic and environmental conditions. This forms then the basis for a participatory process involving scenario analysis and policy recommendations. Two reports provide insights about current activities in the landscapes. Additionally, one of the stakeholder partners of INTEGRAL, EUSTAFOR, gives its view of the value of INTEGRAL from the perspective of stateowned forest enterprises and agencies.

Prof. Ljusk Ola Eriksson,
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, INTEGRAL Project Co-ordinator

Ljusk Ola Eriksson is professor in forest management planning at the Swedish University of Agriculture. His research focuses on development of decision support systems that integrate different ecosystem services of forests.

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Recently, a number of important policy processes at the European level have been initiated which will most likely effect European forestry. These policy initiatives are:


  •  the development of a new EU Forest Strategy for a long-term multifunctional and sustainable forestry;
  •  the discussion on the legislative proposal for a new EU rural development policy (2013-2020), including sustainable- and climate-friendly forest land use;
  •  the preparation of guidelines for forest habitats and species under the EU Nature Protection Policy (Natura 2000 network of conservation areas under the Habitats and Birds Directives);
  •  the inter-governmental negotiations on the Legally Binding Agreement on Forests in Europe.


All of these on-going policy initiatives reflect the pressing need for new policy responses to manage the multiple demands of current and future generations for forest goods and services. In the current situation, with increasing societal demands on and competition for different forest land uses (e.g. to provide timber production for construction as well as biomass for bio-energy; increased timber logging versus forest habitat conservation), it is of utmost importance that forest resources are utilized in the most efficient, environmentally sound way. It should be recognized that a balance is to be urgently ensured between competing forest 

land uses. This can be only achieved by a coherent policy and economic framework which addresses different forest-related policies and management practices, and integrates sustainable management and forest conservation in a coordinated way.

The project INTEGRAL is ideally designed to inform and support the formulation and implementation of the aforementioned forest policy initiatives at the Pan-European, European Union and Member States levels. Concurrently, it makes a decisive contribution to the scientific knowledge and state-of-the art.

The main aim of the project is to contribute to a balanced use of forest land in Europe. To achieve this, INTEGRAL addresses the challenges resulting from competing and diverse demands for multiple forest ecosystem goods and services under changing environmental, institutional, policy, economic and social conditions.

What happens in practice is that the interdisciplinary project team of INTEGRAL identifies and analyses the main socio-ecological drivers of changes in the management of 20 forested landscapes throughout Europe. Using the results of the analyses, local, sub-national and national stakeholders will be involved in the development of future scenarios for forest management and conservation. In the next step, policy back-casting exercises will be conducted in order to identify concrete policy instruments which can make preferable futures possible. Based on the findings of the systemic analysis and foresight processes, decision support systems for forest owners, managers and other stakeholders will be improved in a way that they also encompass political and socio-economic processes. The results of all case studies will be compared at the European Union level in order to ensure a comprehensive, bottom-up synthesis that informs about the development of forest policy initiatives in Europe.

The expected overall impact of the project is an integrated, balanced and therefore improved management of forests and forest lands. The key policy- and management-relevant achievements of INTEGRAL are:


  •   Development and application of a novel methodology for integrated policy and management processes
  •   Policy recommendations for coherent forest-relevent land-use policies at EU and national levels, and consistent forest management at the sub-national levels
  •   Inspiration for establishing a new culture of forward-thinking approaches and participatory decision-making in forest policy and management practice
  •   Improvement of forest decision support tools that additionally incorporate political and socio-economic processes
  •   Creation of a common understanding of similar challenges and learning effects in other European regions regarding integrated forest management. 




MetSo  __

Dr. Metodi Sotirov, INTEGRAL scientific coordinator

Research fellow at the Institute of Forest and Environmental Policy / University of Freiburg



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Starting in May 2012, the project partners in INTEGRAL have analyzed the barriers and drivers of management of selected forested landscapes in 10 European countries. Based on the assumption that there are critical incoherencies within and between European, national and local forest related land use policies and practices at the landscape level, the INTEGRAL- experts seek to assess


• the capacity of the selected landscapes to provide different ecosystem services and
• the impacts of political, socioeconomic and ecological factors on integrated forest management in 20 forest landscapes all across Europe.


In order to have a data pool as wide as possible, and to take the perspectives of all stakeholders into account, the project partners have interviewed a number of representatives of relevant stakeholder groups and have conducted (quantitative) surveys in the different countries. In addition, a considerable set of statistical data has been collected. After the case studies are completed, the partners will conduct a cross-case analysis and provide a comprehen-sive synthesis of the main research results at the European Union level, highlighting the relevant aspects for policy formulation and management practice.


In June 2013, INTEGRAL is going to publish a policy brief presenting the most relevant findings of the challenging task to balance competing forest land-uses as analyzed in the 20 case studies. The policy brief will be distributed to relevant policy decision makers at regional, national and European Union level and will be available for download under



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The future development of European forests depends on a wide variety of factors, regulations and actions, which are discussed both in the natural sciences and the social sciences. This is why it is important to practice interdisciplinary teamwork between different disciplines and research fields – which is one of the outstanding features of the INTEGRAL project.

For example, some of our research partners forecast the environmental effects of introducing new species in a certain area or model the maximum amount of ecosystem goods and services that a forest stand can provide under a sustainable management regime. Others are looking into the coherence and effects of regulations and governance at different administrative levels, or analyzing prevailing mindsets towards forests in different European regions. The results will be data of different kind and scope, and this is where regular forestry research often ends.

In the INTEGRAL project, we have the opportunity to integrate the individual research findings into a comprehensive and coherent future-oriented picture. For this purpose, we will use explorative and qualitative scenarios at the local, national and European level.
The scenarios will reflect the given natural boundaries in the European regions as well as the range of possibilities in the management and regulation of forests in the next 30 to 50 years. Some developments depicted in the scenarios will be more preferable than others, of course. Therefore, an extensive back-casting process will deal with the question of what has to be done today on a local, national and international level to trigger desired future developments.

Elmar Schüll
Fachhochschule Salzburg GmbH, Austria 


ElmSchue __

Elmar Schüll, research fellow at the Center for Futures Studies in Salzburg, teaches in the Master Programme on Futures Research at the Free University in Berlin. In INTEGRAL he co-ordinates the task to prepare, assist and supervise participatory scenario-processes in ten European countries.


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One of the two case study areas in Italy is “Seven Municipalities Plateau”. It is situated between the “Po Valley” lowland and the higher mountains of the Alps. It covers an area of approximately 46 650 ha, of which 66% is forest land. The outer edge of the Plateau is dominated by coppices, with beech as the main species. Moving along the inner part of the area, the environmental conditions gradually shift towards continental features, and coniferous high forests become predominant. The main forest categories are represented by beech forests, Norway spruce forests, Silver fir forests and coniferous plantations. It is important to stress that some of the woodlands are predominantly composed of introduced species, like spruce.  After the Second World War, large artificial mono-specific forests were planted, with special preference for spruce because of its expected high value for future wood production. On the one hand those past plantations achieved their goal to limit soil erosion, but on the other hand they created ecologically weak forest stands, with a high risk of insect attacks, as some recent dramatic events revealed. Three Natura2000 Sites of Community Importance (SCI) are included in the case study area, altogether covering 17 022 ha.

Eight Municipalities rise in the Seven Municipalities Plateau area – differently from that suggested by the name. They are further fractioned in several hamlets, each representing a vivid testimony of local mountain communities deeply rooted with their own territory. A process of re-institution of common property regimes is currently being promoted within the Plateau, trying to revitalize these ancient institutional regimes – having progressively declined in the past because of unfavorable laws and changes in socio-economic conditions.

Furthermore, several competences of public administration at a regional and national scale are currently being reorganized, variously affecting also mountainous municipalities. The forestry sector is still vital within the Plateau, contrary to what often happens in the pre-Alpine region, where the forestry sector goes through more marginal situations. Forestry is characterized by high mechanization, although traditional harvesting systems are still commonly adopted.

Finally, the biomass forestry sector is experiencing a noticeable development, with some contrasts: it is commonly considered an opportunity “to clean the forest” but public concerns about environmental feasibility also arose; it has been introduced as a new perspective for economic development, but on the other hand, it provides low income and seems to be too strongly linked with the availability of public incentives.





DavPet  __

The following researchers are conducting the analysis, all from LEAF (Department of Land, Environment, Agriculture and Forestry – University of Padova):

Davide Pettenella, professor at the University of Padova (Italy), has the overall responsibility for the case study. He has worked extensively in forest products (wood and NWFPs) and services marketing, with a special focus on Corporate Social Responsibility and the ethical aspects connected with public institutions role in regulating the forestry sector.

Matteo Favero, PhD student at LERH Doctoral School (Land, Environment, Resources and Health – LEAF Dept.), is responsible for the social science aspects of the case study. He also collaborates as a volunteer with FSC Italy.

Mauro Masiero, PhD student at LERH Doctoral School (Land, Environment, Resources and Health – LEAF Dept.), focuses on the social science part of the case study.

Prof. Davide Pettenella    


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As one of two case-study areas in Sweden, the region “Helge å” was selected for analysis of the key socio-ecological drivers of change in integrated forest management. The area is delineated by the intersection of the Kronoberg county and the catchment area of the river Helge å. It is situated in the core of Götaland, the southernmost Swedish region, and is found in the nemoral ecological zone. The area encompasses 168 000 ha, of which 80% is forest land, 10% is agricultural land, while the remaining 10% are mires or infrastructural land. The forest is conifer dominated with 50% of the standing volume in spruce, 31% in pine and 12% in birch. Although the current share of the “noble” species (oak, beech, lime, ash, elm) is small, a lot of high nature values are linked to the enduring elements of these species.
The forests have a history of rather intensive management with a focus on raw material supply to the industry during the twentieth century. In 2005, Götaland was severely hit by a storm, which profoundly affected the state of forests.

The Helge å area is not heavily populated, but rather surrounded by towns as well as industrial-forest clusters. In the area, there are some medium-sized sawmills while four major sulphate pulp mills and one huge newsprint mill are located around the case study area. In addition, two regional bioenergy-fed heating plants are found in the surroundings. Forest ownership is totally dominated by NIPFs – Nonindustrial Private Forest owners – together making up 80% of the forest land. Five percent are publicly owned, while the rest is owned by companies and others. Since it is primarily NIPF-owned forests in the area, the major “conflict” is around which areas on the individual estates should be managed for commercial timber production and which areas should be allocated to other ecosystem services. This is to a large extent decided by the owner but influenced by regulations, certification schemes, public opinions, etc.

In this case study, it has been chosen to concentrate the interviews with forest owners and some other stakeholder contacts to a village called Hallaryd which then serves as a “social lab” of the forested landscape. The results of the analysis will be integrated into the synthesis report, to be published in April 2013.





 Vilis __

Four researchers, all from SLU (the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences), are actively participating in the case study:

Vilis Brukas, originally from Lithuania and with a Ph.D from Copenhagen, Denmark, is responsible for the social science aspects in the case study.

Peter Edwards, originally from Canada and with a Ph.D in Sociology and Political Science at Griffith University, acts as a coordinator of social science aspects of the two Swedish case studies.

Ola Sallnäs, professor at SLU, has the overall responsibility for the case study and focuses on the forest management part of the case study.

Ida Wallin, forthcoming Ph.D student, carries out interviews in the social lab and is expected to be the leading facilitator of participatory scenario development.

Vilis Brukas, PhD    



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 PjotrBork  ___

The co-operation of stakeholder associations in the INTEGRAL project enables on the one hand that valuable inputs and feedbacks from relevant actor groups such as the state forest organizations in European countries can be considered during project implementation. On the other hand it ensures wide dissemination of the project results. The European State Forest Association (EUSTAFOR) stands for commercially oriented, state-owned forest companies, enterprises and agencies, which mainly focus on sustainable forest management and wood production. Their members represent one-third of the EU forest area, including large, protected areas. EUSTAFOR supports and strengthens state forest organizations in Europe with a view to maintaining and enhancing their economic viability, their social and cultural benefits, as well as their ecologically responsible, sustainable forest management. 

We asked Mr. Piotr Borkowski, the Executive Director of EUSTAFOR about his understanding of the main goals of INTEGRAL.

INTEGRAL: In your opinion, what could be the main achievements of the INTEGRAL project?

PB: INTEGRAL is a project oriented on providing practical solutions for the integrated management of forest landscapes in Europe. Forests are indispensable elements of the landscape; therefore their management needs to be well integrated at the landscape level. Today there is a great need to improve forest management approaches by considering competing land-uses. Another very important issue that needs practical solutions is how to respond to expectations and needs, which are very often formulated in a contradictory manner by the broad society and the different policies. Just to give an example, at the EU level, we have dynamically developing climate, environmental, and energy policies – each of them addressing forests from their own angle. To meet these demands and challenges, practical solutions at the management level are needed and I do count on INTEGRAL to deliver them.

INTEGRAL: How can and will EUSTAFOR contribute to the successful implementation of INTEGRAL?

PB: EUSTAFOR is mainly involved in the work package for communication and dissemination. We wish to contribute to the project, on the one hand, with practical expertise derived from the everyday work of public forest managers and, on the other hand, to contribute to the wide dissemination of the project results through our communication networks. We need to bear in mind that the EUSTAFOR network consists of 25 state forest organizations in 19 European countries that employ approximately 100,000 people who manage around 45 million ha.




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