Session 4.3 Individual presentations: Ecosystem services


Metodi Sotirov, Chair of Forest and Environmental Policy, University of Freiburg

TA: Sabeth


  1. Eva Lieberherr: Why integrating the forest into the offset regulation is not (yet) an option in Switzerland
  2. Emily Shen: Understand Chinese participants’ relational value and motivations behind PES schemes
  3. Eulàlia Baulena: Forest and water policy integration: linking the output with the process
  4. Rocó Melina Garci: Identifying the causes of tourism conflicts in Forest Lands of Patagonia
  5. Wibke Müller: Modes of drought climatization: A frame analysis of drought problematization in Germany across policy fields

Eva Lieberherr, ETH Zurich – Swiss Federal Institute of Technology

Why integrating the forest into the offset regulation is not (yet) an option in Switzerland

Biotope offset regulation has been introduced to compensate residual or unavoidable biotope loss from development projects and to achieve at least a “No Net Loss.” The design of such offsetting is non-trivial. A rigid compensation of the same biotope very close to the original location and in a timely manner would be environmentally effective. However, this is difficult to achieve for various reasons and less rigid possibilities might be favoured due to their efficiency, but they might be less effective environmentally.
Against this background, there have been endeavours to make offset regulation more flexible. One means is to establish an offset-banking system (“ecoaccount”), which entails out-of-kind compensation and applies explicit conversion factors. A prominent example for such a flexibilization can be found in Germany, which allows the compensation of biotopes lost on agricultural land within the forest area. Such compensation projects could either be implemented as some type of forest reserve, which would strongly impair forest management, or alternatively, there might also be more “production-integrated” possibilities.
As the pressure for an integration of the forest area into such land-use compensation schemes is very likely to rise in the future in various highly populated European countries, we address the following question: to what degree is the integration of forest into offset regulation supported or rejected by which actors and what are the alternatives?
To assess this question, we examine the case of Switzerland which is a particularly “hard case” in that respect, as the Swiss forest area profits from a very strict legal protection. Through desk research and interviews, we find that in Switzerland, most actors do not see the benefit of integrating the forest into the offset regulations. Uncertainties about possible benefits from a more flexible offsetting regulation cannot outweigh conceptual flaws as well as the expected implementation difficulties.

Emily Shen, University of British Columbia

Understand Chinese participants’ relational value and motivations behind PES schemes

Payment for Ecosystem Service (PES) is an incentive program used in forest policy, aimed at providing monetary benefits for ES providers and encourage the sustainable use of forest resources. However, PES program is criticized by scholars for its flaws in policy design. For example, the commodification of forest resources may change the relationship between human and forest. Before the program, people may manage forest land driven by cultural identity and social responsibility. After the PES program, they will view their relationship with forest differently and only maintain the forest when receiving incentives. The relationships that people have with forest are referred as relational value, including care for forest, stewardship, and moral responsibility to forests, etc. Previous literatures mainly focus on policy evaluation of PES program in China regarding its economic or ecological impact but fail to consider cultural ecosystem services. In this study, I will view the PES program in the light of relational value and conduct in-depth interviews with participants to understand their value and views about PES programs in Chinese context, including how do they understand PES payments and what do they used to describe nature. I will also explore their motivations behind the participation. Understanding the value held by participants can help to better design the policy and further increase people’s involvement. Besides, by reflecting participants’ value in the policy can not only produce ecological-sound results, but also bolstering the values needed to maintain the programs. Study will also tackle analysis of the role of institutional framework and on how different PES narratives are institutionalized to the legislative sphere and in the respective actor-network, and how they in this manner impact the relational value of Chinese forests under the PES schemes.

Eulália Baulenas, Professur für Forst- und Umweltpolitik, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg

Forest and water policy integration: linking the output with the process

Scholars consider forest and water an integrated system, with forests being a key element of the water cycle. The multiple functions of forest for water ecosystems are labelled as the “best kept secret” by scholars and the use of such synergies critical to address the climate crisis. For these reasons, scholars claim the necessity to integrate these two natural resources in policy and management. From a policy perspective, this involves two dimensions: the output and the process. Policy integration as an output can be defined as a policy that integrates aspects of another sectoral policy, or a joint policy involving the two sectors in key elements, such as goals or procedures. Policy integration as a process involves the interaction dynamics across agents involved in policy-making. The aim of the current research has been thus to explore the causal mechanisms which link policy integration processes and outputs across the forest and water sectors. To study this, we conducted a policy network analysis in two regional areas of Europe, Catalonia (NE Spain) and Baden-Württemberg (SW Germany), to analyse the factors leading to a given policy integration output in these systems. Results from this study and similar literature show how different types of interdependencies among the members of forest-water policy networks is what triggers different integration outputs. The interactions were grouped in competitive, functional or absent, and the outputs in symbolic, substantial or technical accordingly. These results show similar patterns as proposed in the work of Archer when discussing the relationship between structure and agency and frames the study of policy integration as a complex socio-ecological system.

Rocó Melina Garcia, Research Institute of Natural Resources, Agroecology and Rural Development, CONICET-UNRN, IRNAD; Research Lab in Ecological and Environmental Systems, UNLP (LISEA)

Identifying the causes of tourism conflicts in Forest Lands of Patagonia

Co-authors: Manuel Lopez Beneitez, Lara Juambej, Sarah L. Burns

Although protected areas were created for conservation purposes, tourism activities were always associated with them resulting in a conflict of interests. These opposing interests are represented by assorted actors at different scales that form coalitions to achieve their goals. In this regard, the international forest regime tries to influence domestic policies at national level and the actors concerned take positions according to their interests. Domestic bureaucracies benefit from the implementation of the international forest regime by gaining influence and power over the territory. In Argentina, its Patagonian region has become the most conserved forest area in the country and an important touristic destination where the forest protected areas are sites of great interest for conservation and production activities. The growth of tourism as the main activity produced differences in the territory affecting socio-environmental factors and increasing land-use conflicts, associated with an exponential demographic expansion. Hence, the aim of this study is to analyse the international and national socio-political context that contributed to the tourism development in the forest protected areas from Patagonia and the resulting conflicts between the stakeholders. To identify the issues, document analysis by process tracing was employed on public sources and 38 semi-structured interviews were made to key actors. The classification of actors was made following Schusser et al(2015).Our results show that the international forest regime had a strong influence in the tourism development of the protected areas in the region, mainly through direct access by World Bank projects. The resulting tourism development led to a change in the local settlers economic activities and intensified the interests of powerful external actors, leading to greater conflicts between stakeholders.


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