Seeing the wood in the forests: First issue of the EFI Knowledge to Action series

"Seeing the wood in the forests" is the first published report by the European Forest Institute in its new Knowledge to Action series, which aims to bring a wide range of research, projects and initiatives on forest-related issues closer to society.

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Design: Lina Salamanca

We need to accelerate the transition from the existing global fossil and wasteful economy towards a renewable economy: a circular bioeconomy. If we are serious about mitigating climate change, we must find new ways to replace fossil and non-renewable raw materials, energy and products like concrete, steel, plastics or synthetic textiles with sustainable, renewable materials.

Wood is, in fact, the most versatile renewable material on earth and, from a sustainability and circular economy perspective, has a comparative advantage relative to other materials. Furthermore, forests, sustainable forest management and forest-based solutions can advance the bioeconomy while enhancing biodiversity and supporting wealth creation in rural and urban areas.

A timely new report from the European Forest Institute assesses how much wood we are likely to have now and in the future to support such a transformational change, and explores the vast potential and implications for its uses.

The report considers the structural changes affecting the use of wood globally and the potential for innovation in forest-based product markets, from engineered wood products in the construction sector, pulp used for textiles, chemicals, bioplastics and energy, to the growing number of small niche markets, including cosmetics, food additives and pharmaceuticals. It explores the future demand for roundwood under business-as-usual scenarios and when contemplating trends which curb the use of wood while foreseeing increased demand for other forest bioproducts.

Finally, it describes the need for investment in research to synthesise current knowledge and assess future environmental, economic, social and policy prospects, which will support a truly sustainable development of the circular bioeconomy.

Download the report here

EFI’s new Knowledge to Action publication series is designed for a wide range of readers such as scientists, policy makers, practitioners and journalists.

Full reference:

Hetemäki, L., Palahí, M. and Nasi, R. 2020. Seeing the wood in the forests. Knowledge to Action 1, European Forest Institute. https://doi.org/10.36333/k2a01

The publication has received funding from the FORBIO project which is part of the Strategic Research Programme on Climate- Neutral and Resource-Scarce Finland (PIHI 2015-2020) funded by the Academy of Finland.