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PESFOR-W Objectives

Research objectives

1. To combine practical, expert knowledge from the forestry, agriculture, water and financial sectors, to improve the design and environmental effectiveness of Woodlands-for-Water (W-for-W) PES, as a means of tackling the major problem of diffuse water pollution impacting on Europe and beyond.

2. To characterise and critically evaluate the governance models and design structure of existing W-for-W PES schemes in the EU, with regard to

  • service provision (supply);
  • policy drivers;
  • payments/markets (demand);
  • types of governance (organizational arrangements)

3. To evaluate the environmental effectiveness of targeted woodland planting in reducing a range of agricultural diffuse pollutants, including:

  • sediment;
  • nitrate;
  • phosphate;
  • pesticides;
  • Faecal Indicator Organisms (FIOs)

4. To develop a European PES repository of Case Studies that investigate lessons from existing W-for-W PES schemes, to share with practitioners, policy makers and stakeholders to promote best practice.

5. To develop User Guidance on the suitability of pollutant, ecosystem service and catchment scale models to quantify the effectiveness of tree planting to reduce diffuse pollution; and provide advice on how PES schemes linking these can be applied.

Capacity-building objectives

1. To increase Europe’s capacity to use W-for-W PES as a policy tool including by developing a critical mass of skilled ‘experts’ (both researchers and users) able to commission and deliver well-designed and cost-effective schemes.

2. To increase Europe’s capacity to tackle intractable diffuse pollution issues by providing training in technical and economic skills, particularly for Early Career Investigators (ECIs), the ‘PES-engineers’ of the future.

3. To facilitate interaction between specialists with different skill sets (forestry, ecology, hydrology/hydrogeology, biophysical, economics, law, etc) needed for PES schemes, via a Linkedin/Facebook ‘European PES Skills Directory’.

4. To build stakeholder understanding of the potential for W-for-W PES schemes to meet WFD targets, as well as to deliver other water and wider objectives.

5. To increase Inclusiveness Target Countries (ITC) access to international expertise and funding, identifying and promoting excellence in science and finance across Europe.

6. To help address a current acute gender imbalance in forestry, agriculture, water and environmental finance sectors, aiming to exceed 40% female representation in the MC and 50% in Training Schools, with positive selection of women for leadership roles to an extent consistent with scientific quality and geographic balance.