Sustainable forestry enables the bioeconomy: Eight policy messages – EUSTAFOR looks ahead to a renewed Bioeconomy Strategy

The bioeconomy has the potential to be the next major economic development, especially in rural and remote areas of Europe. Shifting to a bioeconomy is also of central importance towards fulfilling the ambitions of Paris Agreement in terms of climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as reaching the Sustainable Development Goals.

Forests cover more than 40 percent of the EU’s land area. They provide the bioeconomy with renewable materials as well as other ecosystem services to create the much-needed shift to a sustainable circular economy. The use of domestically available raw materials has a positive impact on securing the supply of energy and goods. At the same time, the diversity in terms of needs and capacities between the different European regions must be acknowledged. Fostering sustainable forest management throughout Europe will safeguard and avoid the risk of over-exploitation resulting from higher demands on forests.

In order to allow the forestry sector to fully contribute to Europe’s targets in relation to employment, research and development, climate change and energy, education and social inclusion, the European state forests are looking forward to a renewed Bioeconomy Strategy, which will:

1. Improve policy coherence

To deploy investments, the market needs to have a clear political direction. Therefore, a long‑term vision and commitment to developing the European bioeconomy is needed. Ambitious goals need to be set and actions must be monitored over time. EUSTAFOR supports a stable and coherent legal and policy framework, especially in relation to the 2030 climate and energy framework and its connection with the deployment of the bioeconomy.

2. Encompass the ecosystem management dimension

The market value of sustainable products needs to be enhanced by promoting sustainable management of (forest) ecosystems and the supply of raw materials. An objective and comparative evaluation of the ecosystem services and non-wood products which forestry provides to society should be better recognized and more fully valued. The evaluation should incorporate market-based tools.

3. Recognize the triple climate benefits forests provide

Sustainably managed forests and wood use deliver a triple carbon effect in mitigating climate change. They provide emission removal, carbon storage, and carbon displacement if wood is used to substitute for non- renewable and highly energy-intensive materials.

Policy needs to recognize the forest sector’s total positive contribution to mitigating climate change and foster sustainable multifunctional forestry. Specific instruments such as Green “climate-fit” Public Procurements (e.g. supporting wood such as Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT) over other materials for use in construction) need to be adopted.

 4. Value innovation and technology transfers

The connectivity and innovation capacity of the forest sector should be promoted. A strong innovation strategy and resources for technology transfer could significantly accelerate the development of the sector. In order to provide adequate conditions and to develop best practices in forestry operations, the development and research of silvicultural practices needs to be strengthened and technological developments and digitalization need to be supported.

5. Enhance the full range of uses of biomass

Creating value and profitability in all parts of the value cycle are key to a truly innovative bioeconomy. Restrictions on the use of biomass for certain products or supplies could lead to market distortions and cap research, innovation and development. Restrictions on biomass use could result in sub-optimal value cycles, limit innovation and penalize certain areas or industries over others.

6. Support new markets

There is a need to improve the flow of materials and residues within and between different industries and users in order to foster the efficiency of forest-based value cycles. Policy should, therefore, promote innovative pathways and new market opportunities for the use of wood. For example, improved product design rules could provide better opportunities for the recycling and reuse of forest materials.

7. Improve the competitiveness of forestry

In developing the bioeconomy, the mobilization of woody biomass needs to be fostered following the principles of Sustainable Forest Management. More support should be given to technological developments, workforce education and the enhancement of silvicultural practices.

EUSTAFOR recognizes the potential of a Bioeconomy Knowledge Center to improve sector competitiveness by developing cooperation, reaching new markets and better valuating the services provided by Europe’s forests.

8. Foster awareness and promote cooperation

The bioeconomy should be perceived as an opportunity to ensure the vitality of forest ecosystems, to promote green employment and increase the social value of forestry for the benefit of all. Full advantage must be taken of the synergies created by using wood and improving land management, by raising consumer awareness about the full bio-based value cycles and by promoting cooperation among experts and stakeholders.

EUSTAFOR, the European State Forest Association, gathers together 33 State Forest Management Organizations from across Europe, which often are the single largest forest manager and biomass suppliers in Member States. State Forest Management Organizations provide biomass to a multitude of forest-based value cycles and, thanks to their scale, stability, reliability and openness to cooperation they can catalyze the development of the bioeconomy. EUSTAFOR members employ leading forest experts with deep knowledge of forest management. In fact, the role of state foresters is to balance different demands through multifunctional forestry in response to local conditions and societal needs, by advancing sustainability and creating value in state forests. EUSTAFOR’s views are based on the management expertise, which comes from their lengthy experience with a full diversity of European forests.

NOTE: Any statement in this document is to be considered as a reflection of the best available professional expertise and does not necessarily reflect the political commitments of individual member organizations.

Published 17/11/2017

Mr. Piotr Borkowski

Executive Director

Dr. Salvatore Martire

Policy Advisor

Forestry News from 2017

05/12/2017Seeking momentum on the European Union’s Forest Strategy
20/11/2017EUSTAFOR supports the European Bioenergy Day on 21 November
17/11/2017Global challenges need a strong forest bioeconomy: Looking ahead to a renewed Bioeconomy Strategy – EUSTAFOR contributes 8 policy messages
13/11/2017Sustainable Forest Management in the face of climate change discussed at COP23-related event
06/11/2017Forestry contributes to Sustainable Development Goals. Highlights from global meeting Sustainable Wood for a Sustainable World
01/11/2017EUSTAFOR contributes to the AEBIOM Statistical Report 2017
24/10/2017More work is still needed on forestry issues in Renewable Energy Directive (recast) after European Parliament’s Environment Committee vote
16/10/2017State forests’ perspectives on wood mobilization presented at the final conference of SIMWOOD project
09/10/2017European forest owners and managers welcome the 4th European Forest Week and underline the key role of sustainable forest management for providing solutions to societal challenges
03/10/2017Implementing Natura 2000 in forests: lessons learned and looking ahead
01/10/2017Wood U Believe in Growth – Finnish forest sector events in Brussels
25/09/2017Follow-up: EUSTAFOR’s WG Bioeconomy – 11/12 September 2017 #forestBioeconomy
22/09/2017New study on economic impacts of potential EU forest carbon sink policies on the forest-based sectors
22/09/2017Wood U Believe in Growth – Finnish forest sector events in Brussels
13/09/2017European Parliament votes in favour of a LULUCF regulation better fit for purpose
28/07/2017EUSTAFOR Appointed as Member of the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (DG GROW)
20/07/2017Welcome to the Forest Service of Catalonia!
19/07/2017The European Forestry House Celebrates 10 Years of Existence
18/07/2017The forest sector has a vast potential to provide climate benefits – Press Breakfast at the European Forestry House
11/07/2017LULUCF: Forestry, paper and agricultural sectors team up in favor of a dynamic forest reference level
03/07/2017Active forest management is needed to prevent devastating forest fires
12/06/2017Europe´s forest owners and managers deeply concerned about draft European Parliament forest biomass report
09/06/2017EU Bioeconomy Strategy to be reviewed
06/06/2017Forest Managers Play a Key Role in Natura 2000 Directives Implementation
09/05/2017EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy
08/05/2017EUSTAFOR views presented at opening of National Conference “Forests and Landscape” organized by EUSTAFOR’s members ANARF and FORESTAS
08/05/2017Evaluation of the instruments applicable to State aid in agriculture and forestry – a roadmap open for consultation
05/05/2017ONF Seminar “Forest Fires, a growing risk due to Climate Change” – Follow-up
25/04/2017How to afforest for the future?
13/04/2017PEFC Standard Revision – public consultation
11/04/2017Sustainably managed forests are a proven source of sustainable biomass for bioenergy
04/04/2017EUSTAFOR is a strategic partner of Forest City Project 2017 which kicked off at the Value of Wood Forum on 21 March 2017 where EUSTAFOR’s President gave a keynote address
22/03/2017State Foresters Gathered in Brussels for the International Day of Forests Dedicated to Forest and Energy
01/03/2017Forestry and the need for sectorial education on the European path of Bosnia and Herzegovina – KUPRES
20/02/2017Does the EU 2030 Climate Policy Reflect the Benefits of Forest Management?
25/01/2017Forest Management is solution to Climate Change
17/01/2017Don’t miss Kupres 2017 Conference
16/01/2017State Forests of Saxony joins EUSTAFOR!
13/01/2017The Role of the Bioeconomy in the Circular Economy
Show older Forestry News

Please upgrade your browser to the latest version for a better experience.