Last week LUCSUS researcher Torsten Krause was invited to present his work at the International Conference ‘Linking Ecosystem Services to Livelihood of Local Communities’ held at Seoul National University in mid-October. The conference was sponsored by the OECD and the Korean Rural Economic Institute and co-organized by the Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO). Torsten presented on Benefit Sharing Experiences in National Level Conservation Incentives Programs in Ecuador and Peru to an audience of researchers, students and civil society organizations, highlighting the importance of looking at the equity and distributional issues of direct cash transfer among and within forest communities that result from top-down designed programs for forest conservation.
Overall, the conference promoted discussion over the science-policy interface on the governance of ecosystem services in order to promote rural livelihood improvements. Due to the relatively small number of well-known speakers and participants who contributed with their experiences from around the world, the conference was a major success in terms of academic quality and networking. At the end of the three day conference, all participants were invited to join a field trip to the Jirisan National Park located in the south of the Korean Peninsula and an overnight stay in a Buddhist Temple.
Right now, the organizers together with the invited speakers are working on a policy brief where major findings and recommendations will be taken up and published. In addition, a special journal issue will be published.
The conference has sparked many conversations on how to continue collaborating in the future and perhaps develop joint projects on a range of topics related to ecosystem conservation, ecosystem services and livelihoods of rural and local communities.