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...

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  • Policy Briefs

  • INTEGRAL Newsletter Issue 10/2015

LATEST ON INTEGRAL PROJECT


During 2012 and the first six months of 2013 the social scientists in INTEGRAL have worked intensively on identifying, describing and analyzing the impact of structural and agent-based factors on integrated forest management in selected case study regions throughout Europe. In parallel, forest model experts investigated the land-use structures, natural resources and their management in these regions. The results, 20 comprehensive case studies, enabled the start of participatory foresight processes. The main aim of the foresight research is to help forest owners and managers to assess what future developments might emerge in the case study areas in the next 25-30 years. Furthermore, they shall provide information about the possible consequences of these developments for integrated forest management (IFM). To reach these goals, scenario analysis and back-casting processes are combined with forest management decision support tools. That means in the first step that the results from the first landscape scenarios are being integrated into decision support systems for forest management and serve as the background for modeling and calculations. In return, certain results from the forest models such as information on possible future provision of ecosystem services (e.g. wood provision, climate regulation or recreation) in the respective case study areas flow back into the scenario process. Based on this information, the landscape scenarios may be revised after considering the effects of the ecosystem services on the overall situation. One of the most relevant tasks in the scenario development process is to assess how relevant stakeholders, e.g. forest managers, might act under given conditions in the future. At the same time it is a challenge for the forest model experts to apply actors’ behavior in decision support systems for forest management. Based on the case study results the INTEGRAL researchers developed an actor behavior model which enables to feed the landscape-specific information on the “human factor” into the decision support systems. The model calculations on this will also be considered in the improved scenarios.


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The INTEGRAL consortium expects that the combination of qualitative scenarios and quantitative forest modeling will lead to better understanding of possible future developments which may affect forest management in Europe. Certain steps of the scenario development process such as the identification and selection of relevant factors for the scenarios have been performed with the participation of regional and local stakeholders in workshops. The main goal was to test scientific knowledge of the INTEGRAL researchers against practical knowledge of forest managers or representatives of forest administration. The second and third articles in this newsletter provide an insight into the experiences with the workshop situation in the Netherlands and in Slovakia. 

Based on the findings of the 20 case studies implications for forest policy were derived and summarized in the first Policy Brief (http://www.integral-project.eu/materials/policy-briefs.html).


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PROJECT EVENTS


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15 October, 2013 - Stakeholder workshop: “Forest policy in Europe: Implementing a Vision of Sustainable and Multifunctional Forestry through Integrated Forest Management”

Stakeholder views on the INTEGRAL results are particularly important and have to be taken into consideration during the implementation of the project. In order to gather feedback, INTEGRAL invited representatives of the European Commission, research organizations, forest-related interest groups and environmental NGOs to a workshop on forest policy in Europe on 15 October. More than 20 participants discussed the new EU Forest Strategy (adopted on 20 September 2013) and the proposed Legally Binding Agreement on forests in Europe. Valuable inputs were given on how the research findings of INTEGRAL could best support these policy developments. Most of the workshop participants agreed that the expected results in INTEGRAL could be well used for exploring future challenges and opportunities of managing forested landscapes in Europe and for making transparent existing trade-offs of diverse eco-system services.


27 September, 2013 - Presentation of INTEGRAL research findings to the Standing Forestry Committee (SFC)

The Standing Forestry Committee is composed of delegates from the EU member states. It plays a central role in the development of specific forestry measures in the framework of various community policies. On 27 September Ola Eriksson, Project Coordinator, and Metodi Sotirov, Scientific Coordinator, had the opportunity to present the INTEGRAL project to the SFC. Following the presentation the SFC stressed the importance of the case study and foresight research in INTEGRAL and discussed in particular the possible policy implications from the project results.

 

12-13 June, 2013 - Cross-project meeting in Zvolen (Slovakia)

On 12-13 June more than 50 researchers participated at the third cross-project meeting which was organized at the premises of the Technical University of Zvolen. The discussions focused on the performance of the participatory scenario processes in 20 landscapes across Europe.


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SELECTED PROJECT PUBLICATIONS


Sotirov, M., Memmler, M. (2012) The Advocacy Coalition Framework in Natural Resource Policy Studies - Recent Experiences and Further Prospects. Forest Policy and Economics, 16, pp. 51-64. 


Borges, J. G. et al. (2013) Addressing multi-criteria forest management with Pareto Frontier methods: an application in
Portugal. Forest Science.


Winkel, G., Sotirov, M. (2013) Whose integration is this? European forest policy between ‚functional‘ fragmentation,
institutional competition, and new integration spirits. Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy. In press.


Garcia-Gonzalo, J. et al. (2013) A decision support system for a multi stakeholder’s decision process in a Portuguese
National Forest. Forest Systems 2013 22(2), 359-373.


For further publications please visit INTEGRAL Publications website: http://www.integral-project.eu/projectresults.html


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Participatory workshops for the development of landscape scenarios – examples from the Netherlands and Slovakia


The scenario building process in INTEGRAL aims to consider stakeholder input for possible future development of integrated forest management. This is of particular importance when those key factors are being identified, selected and assessed which are likely to influence the management of the respective forested landscapes in the medium and long term. In addition, local forest experts can contribute much to create the future values of the most influencing factors (alternative future manifestations). 

We have asked the project partners from the University Wageningen (Netherlands) and the Technical University in Zvolen (Slovakia) about their experiences with stakeholder workshops in the scenario building process.

 


 

Participatory workshops for scenario development in the Netherlands

by Rutger de Jong, University Wageningen

 

We have organized two workshops with forest managers with the aim to attain information about which factors are the most important ones to influence future forest management in the case study area South-East Veluwe. Since only a number of local experts could attend the workshops, we have sent a questionnaire to many other local and regional stakeholders in order to receive also their input for the identification and selection of key factors.

 

During the workshops, the stakeholders received a long and comprehensive list of factors which were derived from previous interviews with forest experts. From this list, the forest managers were asked to select only five factors which were from their point of view the most important or influential factors with regard to future forest management. These factors were assessed by the stakeholders according their ‘likelihood to occur in the future’ under four different circumstances: increase, no change, decrease or fluctuate. Afterwards, the workshop participants discussed possible future developments considering the selected factors. All stakeholders were actively involved in all the discussion; debates about the topic of financing forest management were the liveliest. It surprised us that a large proportion of the stakeholders were still of the opinion that public subsidies were self-evident even though they have dramatically decreased in the last years.

 

In summary, on most of the topics there was consensus amongst the participants (e.g. increasing timber prices, more extreme weather events due to climate change and increase in complaints of forest visitors about forest management practices). All in all, the input was most valuable especially concerning the fact that consensus was made by forest managers from different backgrounds, working for different organizations with different forest management goals.

 

In order to run the workshops as smoothly as possible, a pilot workshop was held with experts from within the university. From this pilot workshop, we learnt that we had to shorten the introduction and focus on the most valuable input from the stakeholders, namely selection and assessment of key factors and description of future manifestations. Finally, probably the most challenging issue is to keep the stakeholders involved throughout the INTEGRAL project as forestry related stakeholders are ‘used’ for a large amount of research projects already in the Netherlands. We try to tackle this issue by involving them in each project phase as much as possible.

 


 

Participatory workshops for scenario development in Slovakia

Rudolf Navratil, Technical University in Zvolen

 

In INTEGRAL, Slovakia is represented by two case study areas: Podpoľanie and Kysuce. Within the scenario development process, we have conducted participatory scenario-building workshops for both case study areas. Generally, it can be said that there is no long tradition of organizing participatory planning workshops in Slovakia. The Technical University in Zvolen has started conducting such workshops with participation of practitioners, forest owners and other stakeholders only a few years ago. Since we have relatively little experiences in this field, we have chosen the workshop participants particularly carefully. The overall list of participants for both workshops could be considered as representative sample of stakeholders not only at the local and regional but also at the national level. We have interviewed most of the attendees previously for the elaboration of the case studies. Among them there were representatives of state forest enterprises, of the respective administrations of the protected landscape areas “Poľana” and “Kysuce”, of the National Forest Centre and also some private forest owners. The workshop participants selected and assessed the most relevant factors which may have a significant impact on forest management of the respective case study areas in the future. In this context, several participants were surprised how strongly the certain factors affect each other. Despite the fact that the groups in both workshops were not very homogeneous, in most of the discussions there was a consensus how the factors may relate to each other. In general it can be said that both of the workshops have been carried out in an open and a collaborative way and we received valuable input from practitioners from the landscape level for the scenarios.

 

 



 

 

 


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INTEGRAL Partners in focus: CEPF


 

We have asked Mr Wendelin Freiherr von Gravenreuth, policy advisor at CEPF, about his understanding of the main aim and expected outcomes of INTEGRAL.

 

1. The main objective of INTEGRAL is to bring the landscape dimension closer to Europe and to provide in-depth knowledge on the challenges in forest management in 20 regions throughout Europe. Can you tell us more about the specific expectations which CEPF has as regards the project results?

 

Different than in other parts of the world, Europe has a long lasting tradition and culture to manage forests by integrated different functions on the same piece area of land. Most of Europe’s forests are managed. Whereas the concept of sustainable forest management (SFM) in the past focused mainly on the production of wood, nowadays it integrates the provision of multiple other goods and ecosystem services, like biodiversity, drinking water, or recreation spaces. Currently the heads of over 40 Pan-European countries negotiate a legally binding forest convention which manifests the concept of SFM. The principle of SFM is also the key element of the new EU Forest Strategy. CEPF expects that the results of the INTEGRAL project support the further development and implementation of this concept on the ground, by identifying and showing the range of multiple contributions of forests and forest management to the wider landscape. When analysing eventual trade-offs of land use the different spatial and time scales should be considered. As forest management is increasingly influenced by other sector policies, the project might also reflect on policy inconsistencies at national and regional level.

 

2. How is CEPF contributing to achieving the above mentioned project objectives?

 

CEPF’s main task in the project is the communication and dissemination of the project results. Furthermore CEPF aims to contribute to the project by providing practical expertise from the implementation of SFM on the ground, as well as sharing experiences in analysing and developing forest related policies on European and international level.

 


 

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