POLYFORES Austria is a research project at BOKU University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences assessment of values connected to forest ecosystems. Within this endeavour our researchers will decipher the meaning of and assess the concept of Forest Ecosystem Services (FES) in relation to the different perceptions of forest value.

The researchers at BOKU InFER (Institute of Forest, Environmental and Natural Resource Policy) in Vienna, address Forest Ecosystem Services and values in three spheres: The conceptual-scientific, the policy sphere as well as the forest user and owner sphere. This results in three main research aims of the project:

  1. to grasp the meaning of societal value in the forest-related social and political science literature and how this relates to framings of forests as providers of Forest Ecosystem Services
  2. to analyse how Austrian policies and strategies address FES to identify synergies and incoherencies among political goals and policy objectives leading to trade-offs
  3. to map societal values showing in which ways FES constitute value for / are important for Austrian citizens, forest owners and decision-makers and see how this affects prioritisation among FES.


An overarching aim of our research at InFER is lastly to meld the outcomes and help improve science-policy interaction in this field by providing valuable input for decision-support concerning FES synergies and trade-offs.

The Austrian project at BOKU assessing forest ecosystem values is embedded into an international Sumforest ERA-NET project. While there are many intersections between the Austrian national activity and the broader international project, the Austrian focus lies in the social sciences, particularly political science, whereas the international project integrates many other approaches such as ecological and economic modelling.