“Innovation and the Mediterranean Bioeconomy”, an online seminar hosted by EFIMED on 11 March, was the first of four online seminars that will take place throughout 2021 as part of the development of the next Mediterranean Forest Research Agenda (MFRA). The webinar aimed to highlight and identify knowledge gaps and future needs related to one of the proposed themes to be considered in the MFRA 2021-2030: social and business innovations and policy instruments to implement the Mediterranean forest-based bio-economy.
The seminar focused on the capacity of innovation in forestry to tackle so-called “wicked problems”; complex dynamics created by crises such as climate change, erosion, desertification and the risk of extreme fire events. Laura Secco, along with co-authors Elena Pisani, Elena Górriz-Mifsud, Mauro Masiero, Paola Gatto and Davide Pettenella from the University of Padova and the Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia (CTFC), presented novel findings from their forthcoming publication, “Innovations for the Mediterranean forest-based bioeconomy: breakthroughs, knowledge gaps and recommendations.”
The presentation focused on the thorough review of scientific papers addressing key themes surrounding the potential development pathways of innovation in a specifically Mediterranean context. Dr. Secco highlighted the main challenges, and also the significant potential contributions of innovation to increased resilience, as well as to the transition to a forest-based bioeconomy.
Nearly 40 participants brought highly relevant expertise from a range of disciplines and sectors: including policymakers, social scientists, and on-the-ground stakeholders from across the Mediterranean. In the fruitful discussion that followed Dr. Secco’s presentation, moderated by EFI’s Sven Wunder, emphasis was placed on the urgent need for improved knowledge exchange between scientists, policymakers, and practitioners to better understand and further develop strong innovation pathways in the Mediterranean.
This seminar, along with Secco et. al’s forthcoming publication, are part of the development of the new MFRA 2021-2030. These key contributions from the presenters, as well as important insights provided by participants in the discussion, will form essential inputs to the development of the new agenda. Priorities, research challenges, and critical gaps revealed in this, and future seminars can guide the next decade of Mediterranean forest research.