Conservation and sustainable capitalization of biodiversity in forested areas

Acronym

BIOPROSPECT
Priority axis Environment
Specific Objective Biodiversity
Call 1st Call for Project Proposals
Lead Partner Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Forestry and Management of the Environment and Natural Resources
Partners Agrobioinstitute
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of Economics
Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH), Institute of Applied Biosciences
Cyprus University of Technology
Exhibition Research Institute
Municipality of Maliq
Municipality of Vrapcisht
Budget 1.104.565,00
The Balkan region is a cradle of very rich biodiversity both in terms of flora and fauna. One of the main environmental challenges is the loss of biodiversity which takes place in all Balkans countries and around them. Balkan forests maintain countless possibilities for the development of high value products, since forest nature can valued as capital i.e. as a source of reproduction of ecological services, and as a source of knowledge. Natural forests and Protected areas (PAs) can provide significant recreational opportunities and contribute to sustainable growth and employment. According to the European Parliamentary Research Service (2015), large remaining knowledge gaps about biodiversity mean public authorities and businesses may not have the full picture when taking decisions, especially as regards social, economic and environmental benefits and costs.

For this reason economic valuation is one of the main priorities of ‘’EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020’’ (Act. 5) that stresses the importance of mapping ecosystems and their services, assessing the economic value of such services, and promote the integration of these values into accounting and reporting systems at EU and national level by 2020.

Goal of BIOPROSPECT project is to explore and document the economic value of forested areas and the ways of sustainable capitalization as a mean for their wise management and conservation. The specific objectives are:
1. To provide operational tools for the conservation of forest biodiversity through economic valuation and sustainable capitalization
2. To demonstrate the operational application forest economic valuation and capitalization benefits
3. To integrate economic valuation in operational management of forested areas and policy initiatives of Balkan Mediterranean area

In order to achieve the objectives the project will: 
- Provide operational models and guidelines for the economic valuation and sustainable capitalization of biodiversity-ecosystem services in agriculture, industry, water resources management, education, recreation and social inclusion;
- Map the cross-border genetic pool and bioprospect of forested areas;
- Demonstrate solution for sustainable capitalization of biodiversity in natural forests and protected areas; 
- Establish a knowledge exchange network and a one-stop-shop for the economic valuation and sustainable capitalization of forest biodiversity;
- Mainstream biodiversity valuation and bioeconomy in regional and rural development strategies and policies.

Through the project policy makers and forest managers will gain skills in addressing forest biodiversity evaluation and management challenges while the programme area will benefit from sustainable practices and policies that promote the  implementation of EU Forest and EU Biodiversity Strategies for 2020. 
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