SIMBIO and scientific research

What does it mean to be sustainable? What are the environmental and social impacts of the products we consume? How can we assess the economic, social and environmental sustainability of products?

SIMBIO’s Scientific research tries to answer these questions. SIMBIO’s worldwide membership, from Finland to Canada, researches various sustainability topics. In partnership with Demetra Onlus (, Denva ( and Politecnico di Milano, SIMBIO writes scientific articles and organises events to raise sustainability awareness.

The research is based on different assessment methods such as Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), ecosystem service and social impact assessments (e.g. Fairforest by Openforest). By combining these methods, we cover all aspects of sustainability, from environment to nutrition.

SIMBIO raises awareness on personal daily choices that can lead to a more sustainable society. SIMBIO is a dissemination platform, and makes scientific research more accessible.

Ecosystem Services

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment[1] defines the ecosystem services as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems.” These benefit humans and are classified as “ecosystem goods and services.”

Among the goods provided by ecosystems we find food, water, biofuels and wood. Ecosystem services include water provisioning and cleaning, air purification, soil fertility, pollination, climate regulation and other fundamental natural regulation mechanisms.

In the last 50 years, humans have significantly modified ecosystems with unprecedented rates and intensity and this is due to the increasing demand for food, freshwater, wood, fibre and energy. This degrades natural ecosystems and their functioning, and causes an irreversible loss of biodiversity worldwide. Studies believe that that 60 per cent of global ecosystem services are compromised.

i servizi ecosistemici

Four categories of ecosystem services have been identified:

  • Provisioning services which guarantee genuine goods such as food, wood, fibre, fuels, water, other raw materials, and genetic resources;
  • Regulating services which control climate, air and water quality, soil formation and fertility, pollination, and waste assimilation, and mitigate natural risks such as erosion and diseases;
  • Cultural services include non-material benefits such as heritage, cultural identity, spiritual and intellectual enrichment and recreational and aesthetic values;
  • Supporting services include habitat creation and conservation of biodiversity, from species to genes.

Since ecosystem services and goods have been available and free, they have not been quantitatively assessed or considered in markets and decision-making processes.


Through the SAVE THE RAINFOREST project, we conserve rainforest that store CO2 and contribute to climate regulating services. The amount of CO2 stored in the protected forest has been calculated according to the existing literature reported below.


To assess carbon and CO2 in the Madre de Dios region, where forest areas protected by SIMBIO are located, we refer to the following study: “Sustainable Forest Management and Use of Ecosystem Services in Forests Managed by The Native Community Ese Eja de Infierno, Peru.

This study assesses the carbon stored in the forest managed by the indigenous community of Ese´esja de Infierno, in the Madre de Dios region (Peru) and is a reference for the REDD project (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation).

The assessment includes:

  • carbon stock in the aboveground biomass;
  • carbon stock in the belowground biomass;
  • carbon stock in the biomass;
  • carbon stock in the soil.
Parametro Valore
Number of areas 50
Min carbon stock (tC/ha) 56,40
Max carbon stock (tC/ha) 376,40
Average carbon stock (tC/ha) 181,70
Average carbon dioxide uptake (tCO2/ha) 666,20
Standard Deviation 74,30
CV% 40,90
Sampling error (%) 11,70
  1. ^ The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment by the United Nations (2001) assesses the effect of changes in natural ecosystems on the human wellbeing and provides the scientific basis to support the ecosystem services conservation.