A report by the European project COMFOR-SUDOE (COMplex FORests) led by the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MNCN-CSIC) of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC) proposes a series of methods of monetary and non-monetary valuation of the benefits of complex forests for rural and urban societies in Spain, France and Portugal. This open access compendium has been elaborated by Ecoacsa Reserva de la Biodiversidad, one of the consortium partners, and aims to guide local development stakeholders and policy-makers in decision making processes. The report is accompanied by a list including 68 ecosystem services or benefits provided by complex forests.
Both open access documents are the result of a consultation of experts and an extensive bibliographic review of 84 scientific articles carried out in Spain, France and Portugal on natural assets (resources of nature that provide goods or services for a time, such as biomass or water) and forest ecosystem services (Carbon dioxide sequestration, erosion control, maintenance of biodiversity, supply of mushrooms and berries, regulation of water quality and climate). In addition, other experiences developed in Germany, Denmark, Scotland, the United States, Finland, England, Iran, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Poland and Switzerland have also been taken into account.
The results show that, of the 68 benefits or services provided by the region’s complex forest ecosystems, 29 are provision, 16 are cultural and 23 are regulation and maintenance. Depending on its suitability for each type of ecosystem service and the availability of data, each benefit has a more appropriate method for calculating its economic value, including those that estimate demand – for example, market prices, contingent value or choice experiment – and those that do not estimate demand – e.g. replacement cost, opportunity cost or avoided costs.
COMFOR SUDOE project
The project, which was launched in November 2020 and has a budget of 1.3 million euros funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), seeks to promote synergies among Spain, France and Portugal and to strengthen a transnational research and innovation network in specific sectors within Sudoe. The objective consists of promoting sustainable and intelligent growth through boosting research, development, innovation and technological transfer.
Until 2023, the international consortium participating in the project will work in southwest Europe – Spain, Portugal and France – to promote forests that guarantee the supply of goods and services to rural and urban society, as well as the protection of their wealth. This strategy, funded by the EU’s Interreg Sudoe Programme, will help to promote ecosystem services and biodiversity protection, as well as to ensure sustainable management.