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Tag: bioeconomy

The roots of innovation – setting the course for sustainable growth in the forest sector

This year, the International Day of Forests (IDF) theme is ‘Forests and Innovation.’ In alignment with this theme, FOREST EUROPE organized a webinar on 14 March 2024 to commemorate it and facilitate a networking space for start-ups, forest practitioners, students, policymakers, and interested people.

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Forests’ potential for climate change mitigation: Buildings as a global carbon sink

by Christopher Reyer (PIK)

How can forests and their products and services best contribute to climate change mitigation? This is probably the most controversial question one can currently ask when discussing the role of forests to combat climate change – and even scientists tend to disagree here. Some say we should manage our forest and use wood for construction to create a long-term carbon sink. Or produce even more wood to replace plastics and fossil-based materials, which is called circular bioeconomy. Others suggest just the opposite: we should not manage our forests – or if we do, we should not concentrate on wood production but mainly focus on our forests’ potential for biodiversity conservation and carbon sequestration.

All approaches have benefits and trade-offs, considering that our natural resources, including our forests, are limited. That being sad, I would like to focus in this article on the potential of using wood and wood-based products for construction to mitigate climate change, based on a paper on Buildings as a global carbon sink that we – a multidisciplinary group of researchers from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and from Yale University – have published 2020 in Nature Sustainability. When looking at global developments, including discussions at the COP in Glasgow, results from the paper are still very valid – and further scientific and practical exploration is needed, since the world’s population is increasing, and climate change mitigation efforts will be challenged by people’s need for shelter.

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“Working with forest owners is a continuous learning process” – interview with Elisabet Andersson

As part of the European Network Integrate, Elisabet Andersson is the Swedish focal point responsible for questions of forest conservation. We spoke with her about the role Swedish forests play for the economy, what measures are taken to both to preserve and to increase biodiversity, and how the Swedish Forest Agency is aiming at improving collaboration between forest professionals, policy makers and societal actors.

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Projects in Sub-Saharan Africa provide evidence of a successful circular bioeconomy – interview with Darren Lapp

This interview is part of the ‘Forest Governance Unpacked’ series with key experts in forest governance. It was developed in the context of the NewGo!…

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Involving and remunerating local communities to save the Amazon – Interview with Johan Wittkamper

Jonah Wittkamper is Co-Founder and President of NEXUS and the Global Governance Philanthropy Network as well as Founder of the Healthy Democracy Coalition and the…

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Innovating with forests’ resources and integrated mindsets

Through human history, forests have provided a great variety of natural resources such as woods, nuts, and fruits. While we have gotten accustomed to these conventional resources, the current environmental crisis has pushed interdisciplinary research to innovate with bio-based materials as an effort to contribute to a bio-based economy.

For the past decade, a great variety of bio-based materials have been developed to replace synthetic packaging, structural materials, leather, and other fossil fuel dependent materials. Many of these are made of agricultural waste such as corn starch, leaves from different plants, coffee waste, and a large etcetera. Moreover, other bio-based materials are developed by harnessing living systems such as mycelium (the root of fungi), algae, and bacteria. This relatively new practical approach (in material design) is called Biodesign.

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Introduction to Sustainable Bioeconomy: An Online Course for Everyone

The bioeconomy is not simply a niche topic for experts. It concerns us all. There is no silver bullet that will solve all our societal and environmental problems. Just like with any ambitious paradigm shift, it requires broad societal engagement, open debates and critical (and most often difficult) discussions. But we think it is all worth it, and that is why we, together with researchers from Freiburg University and the University of Padova, developed an online course on how a circular bioeconomy could aid sustainability and help to face multiple simultaneous challenges related to the environment: the threat of climate change, resource depletion, population growth, and overconsumption.

Bioeconomy is a living concept. Discourses evolve. Opinions and visions of what a better future ought to look like shift. Indeed, the bioeconomy offers a unique opportunity to reshape our current production and consumption pathways, break free from our fossil-dependency, and co-create a truly innovative, sustainable and inclusive economy that works for all. But in order for this to happen, we need broad international involvement, we need to forge innovative inter-sectoral cooperation networks, we need unbiased and fact-based communication and we need to have critical debates about the meaning of sustainability in the bioeconomy context. But most importantly, we need to educate the bioeconomy leaders of tomorrow.

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“The Integrate approach allows us to improve the efficiency of forests to deliver ecosystem services” – interview with Enrico Pompei

From the Roman Empire to present day: Italy looks back at a long history of cultivating land and making use of forest products. With Enrico Pompei, Director of National and International Forestry Policies of the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies we discussed current targets and challenges of forest management in Italy as well as advantages of collaboration and exchange of experiences between different stakeholders involved in the field of forest decision making from local to European level.

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Embrace the Green Deal!

Integrate Webinar: Green Deal’s perspectives on forests and forestry in the time of Covid and Greta

On 24 June, the Integrate Network facilitated by the European Forest Institute organised the first Integrate Webinar. The webinar focused on the European Green Deal and its impacts on forest management and protection in Europe, with a special focus on the integration of biodiversity conservation into sustainable forest management – which is the main focus of the Network.

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Always Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth: The Case of the European Green Deal

On May 20th 2020, EFI held its first ThinkForest webinar: Science Insights to the European Green Deal and Forests. During this interactive event speakers and panelists took an in-depth look into the Green Deal, using a focus on the forest-based sector to discuss a range of topics including its objectives, weaknesses, and potential for further development. During the discussions, a key critique emerged from speakers and panelists: The Green Deal lacks clear consideration of a forest bioeconomy, which is crucial for addressing the climate, economy, and biodiversity simultaneously. The critique was met with an almost unanimous agreement by audience members, with a final poll revealing that 88% of participants thought the Green Deal should be updated to include this missing link.

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