FSC®-verified positive impacts on ecosystem services for healthy, resilient and sustainable forests. The experience of Lombardy Region, Italy
Since 2009 the regional forests of Lombardy are certified according to FSC® (FSC-C084190) e PEFC™ standards for sustainable forest management. In 2018, the Regional Forest Agency (ERSAF), has decided to verify the positive impacts on ecosystem services, according to a new procedure developed by FSC (FSC-PRO-30-00 - Ecosystem Services Procedure: Impact Demonstration and Market Tools). The following ecosystem services have been assessed and included within the scope of the certification: Biodiversity Conservation, Carbon Sequestration and Storage, Watershed Services, Soil Conservation, Recreational Services. These ecosystem services are generated by a natural capital of 16,000 hectares of forests, divided into 20 geographically distinct areas, an important sample of all regional forests, representing 75% of the regional forest types and 80% of protected species according to European regulations. These woods provide drinking water, climate mitigation, recreational opportunities and well-being to nearly one million people a year and contribute to the environmental conservation of the whole Region. The FSC verification process of ecosystem services represent an opportunity for managers, by expanding their awareness on the value that forests play for today's society. Besides, quantifying and communicating the ecosystem services generated by responsibly managed forests may increase the awareness of citizens and stakeholders toward the benefits provided to the local community. Finally, quantifying and verifying ecosystem services is a first step to promote the application of payments for ecosystem services and attract private sponsorship, in order to ensure new revenue streams to cover the cost of ongoing forest management. The poster intends to present the methods, applications and results of the FSC ecosystem service verification as a transferable model to the management of all regional forests.