Payments for Ecosystem Services (Forest for water)

Castle Farm - Yorkshire Dales Millennium TrustSummary

The aim of the PESFOR-W COST Action is to synthesize knowledge, provide guidance and encourage collaborative research to improve Europe’s capacity to use Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) to achieve Water Framework Directive (WFD) targets & other policy objectives through incentives for planting woodlands to reduce agricultural diffuse pollution to watercourses.

Description of the COST Action

The EU Water Framework Directive (WFD) aims to ensure restoration of Europe's water bodies to 'good ecological status' by 2027.  Many Member States will struggle to meet this target, with around half of EU river catchments currently reporting below standard water quality.  Diffuse pollution from agriculture represents a major pressure, affecting over 90% of river basins.  Accumulating evidence shows that recent improvements to agricultural practices are benefiting water quality but in many cases will be insufficient to achieve WFD objectives.  There is growing support for land use change to help bridge the gap, with a particular focus on targeted tree planting to intercept and reduce the delivery of diffuse pollutants to water.  This form of integrated catchment management offers multiple benefits to society but a significant cost to landowners and managers.

New economic instruments, in combination with spatial targeting, need to be developed to ensure cost-effective solutions - including tree planting for water benefits, are realised.  Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) are flexible, incentive-based mechanisms that could play an important role in promoting land use change to delivery water quality targets.  PESFOR-W will consolidate learning from existing woodlands for water PES schemes in Europe and help standarize approaches to evaluating the environmental effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of woodland measures.  It will also create a European network through which PES schemes can be facilitated, extended and improved, for example by incorporating other ecosystem services linking with aims of the wider forests-carbon policy nexus.

Further details can be found in the Memorandum of Understanding.

Committees

Status

The Action started on 18th October 2016 and continues until 17th October 2020.

Contacts

For further information, please contact:

Chair

Dr Gregory Valatin

Vice Chair

Prof Gebhard Scheuler

Funders and partners

European Union flagThis programme is funded by the European Union - EU COST Action CA15206.

 

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