INTEGRAL works on solutions for better forest management in Europe; policy formation for integrated management of European forest landscapes.
In the European Union, the important environmental and socio-economic roles of forests are widely known. However, there are critical incoherencies between the forest-related policies at the European level and their implementation in the regions in the member states.
The main objective of the four-year project INTEGRAL is to bring the landscape dimension closer to Europe. At the same time, the project provides demand-driven information for European policy decision makers on the challenges in forest management in 20 regions throughout Europe. INTEGRAL provides solutions for:
- effective management strategies at the landscape level;
- decision support tools for future-oriented and integrated forest management;
- coherent EU policy instruments.
The vital environmental and socio-economic role of European forests is well documented and acknowledged in the policies of both the European Union and its member states. Nevertheless, there are critical incoherencies among trans-national, national and local forest-related land-use policies-- the central issue being discrepancies between the policies and their implementation at the landscape level.
Hence, there is a need to improve existing policy and management approaches that have the potential to deliver a better balance between the multiple, conflicting demands for forest goods and services. Diminishing those discrepancies by providing a new policy and management approach, which takes into consideration the sensitive issues of ecology, socio-economy and policy are the main objectives of INTEGRAL.
INTEGRAL relies on the concept of forest ecosystem goods and services (ES). The concept of ES is based on the idea that the intricate interplay of basic physical, chemical and biological processes (i.e. functions) determines or contributes to the natural maintenance of an ecosystem. The basic rationale is that the ES concept – as a common object of interdisciplinary research – can serve as the basis for identifying, accounting for, modeling and displaying the (natural, socio-political, and economic) trade-offs between different land-use scenarios in a given forest landscape.
- Analysis of drivers and barriers to sustainable land-use management in Europe (based on a series of case studies, each focusing on one to three policy-relevant landscapes in a single European country).
- Scenarios for integrated forest management (3-4 consistent descriptions of future states for each case study).
- Policy back-casting for implementable policy instruments (analysis of policy options and instruments for each scenario).
- Analysis of integrative and segregative management approaches under different policy instruments and scenarios at landscape level.
- Advanced forest decision support systems including social processes (e.g. simulation of management decisions under changing political/economic conditions).
- Policy advice for future-oriented forest management in Europe.