Welcome to the first blog post of the PathFinder project, where you will be able to find monthly updates on various aspects of the project, allowing to go more in-depth. In this blog post, we present more on what the project is about and how its work is divided.
PathFinder is a Horizon project with an estimated duration of 48 months (from September 2022 to August 2026). It is aimed at developing a system that blends both a monitoring of the status of European forests and a pathway assessment that allows informed policy decisions.
In concrete terms, PathFinder strives to set up and implement a scheme that enables an updated reporting of the greenhouse gas emissions of the European LULUCF (Land Use, Land Use Change and Forest) sector by combining the use of harmonised on-ground information with remotely sensed data. This innovative mix offers a high-resolution mapping that provides a precise description of the attributes and characteristics of the forests from Europe, as well as an overview of their status.
The second pillar of the project is related to the pathway assessment. All the information compiled thanks to the monitoring system is brought together and gives a set of forecasts of future forest scenarios and outcomes of forest management alternatives. This assessment, which also includes an analysis of possible trade-offs, is a result of a participatory activity in which novel monitoring is integrated with EU-level stakeholder visions and knowledge. The pathway assessment is expected to be a powerful tool for policymakers to help them plan the essential forest policy and implementation steps towards achieving the established targets.The PathFinder project is framed in a context where the EU is pushing for a sustainable, low-emission circular economy through the European Green Deal, among other legislative packages. In this context, forests offer ecosystem services, such as climate change mitigation and the protection of biodiversity, that are crucial for the fulfilment of the European targets in matters of reduction of CO2 emissions. This essential role that forests can play must, however, be subject to well-informed and evidence-based policy decisions. PathFinder is devoted to providing a solution for these requirements.
The project has four main objectives:
- Establishing a consistent field survey, centred in carbon pools and biodiversity indicators, by a combination of on-ground and remotely-sensed data.
- Developing a mapping platform that showcases the status of European forests from all the information obtained through the previous field survey.
- Creating possible scenarios regarding the future of forests where the impact of policy decisions and forest management initiatives are analysed. They should include an assessment of the consequences of these actions in the ecosystem services provided by forests.
- Launching a participatory design of different forest management pathways that allow policy decisions and practices to be guided by scientific knowledge.
The project, coordinated by the Norwegian Institute for Bioeconomy (NIBIO), involves 24 partners from 14 countries (Norway, Germany, France, Netherlands, Croatia, Finland, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Spain, Ireland, Belgium, United Kingdom, and Switzerland).
How do the Work Packages contribute to the project?
The project is divided into seven WPs that are designed to support the achievement of the objectives previously outlined. These working packages are:
- WORK PACKAGE 1. Advanced field data collection. This work package is aimed at designing and developing a field survey of the EU’s forests. This task is done by combining the collection of on-ground information through field plot datasets and of remotely-sensed data. These two ways of collecting information make up the monitoring system, which analyses primarily indicators regarding carbon pools and biodiversity. The WP, linked to the first main objective of the project, is coordinated by CSIC (Spain).
- WORK PACKAGE 2. A mapping and estimation platform for LULUCF and biodiversity monitoring. The WP endeavours to establish and implement a platform containing high-resolution maps that showcase the attributes of European forests. LUKE (Finland) is the coordinator of the WP, related to the second objective of the project.
- WORK PACKAGE 3. Forest and land management scenarios. This work package strives for the setting up of a future forest scenario framework whose goal is to assess how political decisions and management activities affect the ecosystem services provided by the forests. It gives an answer to the third objective of the project and is coordinated by VUA (The Netherlands).
- WORK PACKAGE 4. Policy and pathway assessment. The WP addresses the last project’s objective, and is intended to launch a set of forest management pathways and alternatives to provide policymakers with tools to integrate scientific knowledge into policy practices. It is coordinated by ALU-FR (Germany).
Aside from these work packages, aimed at one specific objective for each one of them, there is three more WPs that are transversal and common to all projects funded by the European Union:
- WORK PACKAGE 5. Communication, dissemination, and exploitation. Its goal is to ensure efficient communication of the activities and results of PathFinder, thus reaching the relevant stakeholders that may be interested in the project’s actions. It is coordinated by ELO (Belgium)
- WORK PACKAGE 6. Project management. This WP is aimed at guaranteeing that the implementation of the project is carried out in accordance with the working plan and in an efficient manner to reach its objectives. NIBIO (Norway) is the coordinator of this working package.
- WORK PACKAGE 7. Ethics requirements. The work package, coordinated by NIBIO (Norway), establishes a set of ethics rules, and ensures that they are followed throughout the project.
In our next blog post, we will delve into the various research aspects of the project, and where the project fits in the world of research and academia! Stay up to date on our social media accounts for when it gets released.