InnoForESt - Smart information, governance and business innovations for sustainable supply and payment mechanisms for forest ecosystem services

The overarching objective of InnoForESt is to formulate, assess, test, and demonstrate policy and business innovations for the sustainable supply and financing of forest ecosystem services. In six case study regions across Europe, networks with experience in successful ecosystem service governance innovations will be initiated. The aim is (i) to establish and institutionalise sustainable long-term governance structures for these frontrunners; (ii) to facilitate mutual knowledge exchange among them; (iii) to partner these pioneer stakeholders with regions that have demand for innovation; (iv) to mainstream these innovations for an informed EU forest policy development. Central to the formation and maintenance of these innovation networks is the establishment of supporting innovation platforms, as the locus of the project. The platforms function as digital information hubs and physical spaces for exchange and learning among core stakeholders, in particular local, national and EU level decision makers, forest administrations, public and private landowner associations and business partners. Network initiatives start on regional scale in case study regions, are extended to national level, interconnected among case studies including further experiences with innovations from network partners, and become up scaled to European level. This process is supported by the science partners that provide synthesized forestry system information, experimental testing of innovations, sustainability assessments, and tailor made navigation tools for policy, business and land-use decision-making.

The project aims to deliver a flexible methodology to provide the building blocks for pan-European and regional assessments. This methodology will build on existing ES projects and databases (e.g. MAES, OpenNESS, OPERAs, national studies), the Millennium Assessment (MA) and TEEB. ESMERALDA will identify relevant stakeholders and take stock of their requirements at EU, national and regional levels. The mapping approach proposed will integrate biophysical, social and economic assessment techniques. Flexibility will be achieved by the creation of a tiered methodology that will encompass both simple (Tier 1) and more complex (Tier 3) approaches.

UNITN will be responsible for WP5: Testing the final methods in policy- and decision-making. WP5 will identify case studies and demonstrate how the proposed methods for mapping and assessment of ecosystem services may be used to inform policy and decision-making processes. Testing activities will be conducted through a series of workshops in different European contexts, each addressing a different set of themes and regions.

CLIMAWARE - CLIMatic change impacts on future Availability of WAter REsources and hydro-geological risks

The project focuses on interactions between climate change and human activities related to water. Davide Geneletti in team leader of task 5, which investigates the interplay between science, society and policy, bridging the science-society gap (key vulnerabilities, support to decision-making).

The video documentary of the project is available at this link.

AcceDO - Combining agent-based models and optimization to define strategies of sustainable access to protected mountain areas: the Dolomites UNESCO Heritage site between conservation needs and recreational use (2011-2014)

The project aims to identify approaches for the sustainable management of protected mountain areas, by defining strategies of visitor access that preserve the environmental quality of such areas while ensuring adequate recreational opportunities. In particular, the project focuses on the definition of tools that allow administrators and park managers to explore the likely environmental and recreational effects of different access policies before their actual implementation. In this respect, the work relies on the combination of various modelling techniques, including stated preferences, agent-based models and optimization, to assess the preferences of visitors, explore the effect of different access policies and eventually define optimal management strategies. 

The project, which specifically analyzes visitor access to the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site, has five specific objectives as follows: 1) map the wildness of natural areas; 2) assess the current and expected behavior of visitors; 3) simulate tourist movements by means of an agent-based model; 4) assess the sustainability of management decisions by means of optimization techniques; 5) develop decision support tools, guidelines and recommendations.


  • Orsi F., Geneletti D. (2014), Assessing the effects of access policies on travel model choices in an Alpine tourist destination, Journal of Transport Geography, 39: 21-35. doi:10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2014.06.015.

  • Orsi F., Geneletti D., Borsdorf A. (2013), Mapping wildness for protected area management: A methodological approach and application to the Dolomites UNESCO World Heritage Site (Italy), Landscape and Urban Planning, 120: 1-15. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2013.07.013.

  • Orsi F., Geneletti D. (2013), Using geotagged photographs and GIS analysis to estimate visitor flows in natural areas, Journal for Nature Conservation, 21(5): 359-368. doi:10.1016/j.jnc.2013.03.001

Assessing ecosystem services to support the design of ecological networks Science Museum of Trento (MUSE) (2011-2012)

The project aimed at examining the relationships between key ecosystem services, Nature 2000 sites and biodiversity in the Trentino region. Specifically, it answered the following questions:

a) What are the spatial relationships between the selected ecosystem services?

b) Where are the ecosystem services hotspots?

c) How well do current Nature 2000 network areas preserve the provision of ecosystem services?

d) Can we establish corridors to connect Nature 2000 sites that maximize win-win conditions for ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation?

The REFORLAN project aimed to identify and promote approaches for the sustainable management of arid and semi-arid forest ecosystems in Latin America, in order to protect biodiversity while supporting local populations' livelihood. The project examined ecosystem restoration techniques utilising native species of economic value, so as to mitigate the effects of the previously applied unsustainable practices and contribute to the conservation of biodiversity.

Options to promote the sustainable development of native forests by the local populations and stakeholders were developed as part of REFORLAN, including information systems, decision support tools, criteria and indicators of sustainable forest management and restoration. The ecosystem approach was implemented through management plans, practical guidelines and policy recommendations. The project was successful in achieving all its principal objectives.

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