Bioeconomy and ecosystem services – synergy or conflict?

This was the title of the  Final Conference of COST Action FP1207  Orchestrating forest-related policy analysis in Europe (ORCHESTRA) held between 5-6 September 2016 at the Université catholique de Louvain in the beautiful town of Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.

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(UCL Library in Louvain la Neuve, a beautiful little town with very interesting architecture and intriguing history.  Find out more here

The ORCHESTRA network is aimed at supporting the coherence of forest-related policy targets and efficiency of policy measures. COST has facilitated multinational, trans-disciplinary collaboration between sociologists, policy scientists, economists and modellers as well as active interaction with various stakeholders. The main aim of this network is to produce new knowledge which can be used by European policy and decision makers to adjust forest-related policies and their implementation to the requirements of multilevel and multi-stakeholder governance.

With Bioeconomy being the new emerging “meta-discourse” in European forest policy, it came as no surprise that ORCHESTRA’s final conference was aimed at discussing the implications for forest policy under a bioeconomy.

Some of the conference topics were:

  • how policy targets and measures related to bioeconomy and ecosystem services have been defined or could be defined at supranational, national and sub-national level ?
  • how quantitative models have been used or could be used to support the selection of policy targets and/or measures related to bioeconomy and ecosystem services ?
  • how actors, models and processes have been orchestrated or could be orchestrated to support the policy decisions related to bioeconomy and ecosystem services ?

Although it was not always easy to “orchestrate” consensus on what bioeconomy would imply for European forest policy, the conference was a first important step in this direction. It brought together many different aspects from different research fields and reminded all participants of the importance of coordination and coherence in an increasingly complex policy landscape.

Our presentation from the conference, titled “Striving towards sustainability: integrating environmental concerns into the political bioeconomy discourse?”, can be downloaded here. More info about our research on environmental policy integration in the political bioeconomy discourse here.

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