What is the innovation about?
A new payment scheme for climate protection, in which actors (mainly tourists) can compensate their (holiday-) CO2 emissions by paying for (buying) “forest shares”. A “forest stock” describes a certified payment of 10 Euros for the tree maintenance on an area of 5 square meters in a “climate forest”.
The buyers can also plant the trees by themselves. Services provided through the payments are, besides climate services (voluntary carbon market), also biodiversity and water quality. Furthermore, Waldaktie is an education tool (education for sustainable development) to explain the ecosystem services of forests to non-specialists. It can be used by companies to make their products more attractive.
What makes this innovation a good example?
Climate changing CO2 emissions are generated by economic activities and actors. The Waldaktie-innovation shifts the payment responsibility to such actors who generate the loss through their touristic activities. The tourists are motivated to return in the forthcoming season to see how their climate forest has grown during their absence.
Companies can use the Waldaktie for their marketing. The payment scheme is furthermore collaboratively initiated by different actors – a group of local stakeholders and the state government.
Where is the case study innovation located?
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a federal state of Germany. Mecklenburg-Vorpommern is located in the north-east of Germany with 24% forest cover. 39% of the forest is privately owned, 46% by the federal state, and 10% by the communes. The climate forests are located in different parts of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Presently, overall 18 climate forests exist across all parts of the federal state. They cover an area of 120 ha.
When was the innovation established, and by whom?
The idea was established 2007 by the tourism association Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, the Ministry for Agriculture and Environment Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and the State forestry institution of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
Why was the innovation established?
The main objective was to create a project that combines climate protection, sustainable tourism and the integration of forest ecosystem services. Today we can see that companies also buy forest shares and use them for their corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Who is benefiting from the innovation?
The innovation offers opportunities for tourists as well as companies emitting CO2, as they can compensate the emission. Companies may use the compensation for marketing purposes. Eventually, the innovation benefits the public (entire society) through climate protection as well as through enhanced forest biodiversity and water services.
Does the innovation need particular natural conditions to work? If so, what kind?
For afforestation of the climate forests only locally adapted tree species should be used. There are no further conditions.
Does the innovation need particular forest management strategies to work? If so, what kind?
Domestically and locally adapted tree species should be planted, which can also defy climate change.
Does the innovation need particular policies, stakeholder, or market conditions to work?
Afforestation financed by the sale of Waldaktien is carried out according to the state forest law. This means that the State Forestry Institute afforests the climate forests with own resources in case of problems by flood, fire, or storms.
What are the main difficulties for the innovation to work?
The main problem is the lack of suitable land.
Where would you like to see the innovation in five years?
Create an ecosystem service certificate (Waldaktie 2.0) that considers further ecosystem services besides carbon sequestration. This could be water quality, biodiversity, avoidance of erosion and others.
How might InnoForESt help you in this endeavor?
It would be helpful to work together to develop approaches to quantify and monetize further ecosystem services.
Is there more information on the innovation available?