SINCERE project and Forest Ecosystem Services
Research and innovations for the services that forests provide to society are the focus of a European project funded under Horizon 2020. Responding to society’s demands for services such as recreation, biodiversity provision and carbon storage, the project will look at innovative ways to value and implement such “forest ecosystem services” in Europe and beyond.

Spurring INnovations for forest eCosystem sERvices in Europe (SINCERE) is a four-year project funded through the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme. From 2018 to 2022, SINCERE will develop novel policies and new business models by connecting knowledge and expertise from practice, science and policy, across Europe and globally.

A core element of the project involves continuous collaborative learning from the project’s innovation actions, located in nine regions in Europe and two international cases in Peru and Russia. Innovations developed through SINCERE are intentionally varying in nature but, as a whole, aim to explore new means to enhance forest ecosystem services in ways that benefit forest owners as well as serving broad societal needs.

SINCERE’s research also contributes to the development of a coordinated European policy framework to maximise the value to society of forest ecosystem services and their sustainable provision.

SINCERE website

SINCERE brochure

Challenges addressed by SINCERE

One of the major challenges relating to the management of Europe’s forests is to balance the provision of distinct forest ecosystem services with broad societal demands. If markets and existing governance arrangements fail, forest owners and managers struggle to meet societal needs.

Only some of the services that forests provide are formally part of markets or value chains and some important services have no direct monetary value. Forest ecosystem services need policy and economic incentives to support them, and ways to value services with no direct market value, so that forest managers and owners have additional motives to supply these services.

There is a need to explore new approaches to connect profitable forest management with changing societal demands. Against this background, innovative mechanisms (IM), including novel policies and business models, have the potential to align ecosystem services’ supply and demand

Forest ecosystem services - Forests' contribution to people

Forests are essential to life on Earth, providing us with one of our main sources of natural resources.  They are home to many species, from the animal kingdom to fungi, plants and many microorganisms. Forests are complex ecosystems that can host a substantial part of our planet’s biodiversity and store genetic resources.

They also provide multiple goods and services which benefit people in many ways: economically, materially, health-wise, emotionally or socially.  These Forest Ecosystem Services, or forests’ contribution to people, are made up of many elements, some of which might be more obvious than others.

Forests offer us many goods: foods, such as honey, nuts, fruits and mushrooms; timber; cork; wood biomass; aromatic and medicinal plants. These can be a source of income for people, though thi