New European research-backed programme aims to increase sustainable forestry

EIT Climate-KIC is to launch an ambitious forestry innovation programme combining bio-economy, conservation and sequestration approaches to help deliver European mitigation targets.

The programme will aim to bring more of Europe’s privately owned, unmanaged forests into sustainable production through increased investment, new forest management techniques, the use of advanced geo-data for monitoring and traceability, and the creation of bio-based wood construction value chains to replace fossil-based material use.

Evidence base

The plans are underpinned by a body of new research initiated by Climate-KIC and partners including leading institutions Wageningen University (Netherlands), INRA (France), Lund University (Sweden), and I4CE (France).

Released today on UN International Day of Forests (21 March), EIT Climate-KIC and the future of the forestry sector, suggests that forests currently account for around 10 per cent of Europe’s total greenhouse gas mitigation efforts, but innovation could double this impact by 2050 if afforestation is supported, forest management is improved and fossil-based construction products are substituted with wood-based ones. 

The report underlines how greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing between public and private decision-makers is needed to deliver climate-smart forestry solutions that go beyond simple carbon sequestration.

“We will pioneer the innovation urgently needed to sustain the vital jobs, economic growth, biodiversity, and valuable environmental services delivered by Europe’s forestry sector today, for tomorrow.”

A systemic approach to sector innovation is vital for EU forests to adapt and play an enhanced role as carbon sinks and carbon stores. This includes encouraging greater substitution of fossil carbon products like cement and plastics with wood and bio-based products, argues EIT Climate-KIC Chairman, Anders Wijkman.

Speaking at a Climate-KIC event in Stockholm to increase the use of wood in construction, Wijkman said: “Uniting forestry stakeholders behind bold long-term commercial and environmental goals will deliver multiple benefits. Public-private innovation must drive new bio-based markets for sustainable EU wood products and secure diverse and resilient forestry resources needed to safeguard our environment and economy for decades to come.”

Optimal balance 

Through its forestry programme, Climate-KIC will help catalyse commercially viable innovation as a complement to traditional conservation approaches to ensure EU forests achieve the optimal balance between their full environmental and economic potential, according to Director of Sustainable Land Use at EIT Climate-KIC, Daniel Zimmer.

“Europe’s forests can and must play a bigger role in the fight against climate change. A more inclusive, productive and climate-resilient EU forestry sector can increase commercial returns for landowners, reinforce Europe’s bio-economy and displace unsustainable pressures on forests in other parts of the world,” Zimmer said.

Pressing the urgency of the research and the forestry programme, Fabrizio Rossi, Programme Lead EIT Climate-KIC’s climate-smart forestry programme added:

“Forests and wood value chains play a vital role in the global carbon cycle and EU economy but climate change increases the threats they face from forest fires, storms, drought, floods, and pests. We aim to pioneer the innovation urgently needed to sustain the vital jobs, economic growth, biodiversity, and valuable environmental services delivered by Europe’s forestry sector today, for tomorrow.”

Climate-KIC is currently developing a multi-year strategy with its core partners. The new capacity-building programme to enhance climate-smart and sustainable forestry and develop wood value chains will be formally launched later in 2018.

EIT Climate-KIC and the future of the forestry sector – key findings:

  • EU forests have a key role to play in tackling global climate change.
  • Innovation in Europe’s forestry sector could double its current contributions global greenhouse gas mitigation.
  • New conservation and sustainable commercial approaches must be combined with innovation in the circular economy.
  • New business models are needed to integrate accounting methodologies and financial instruments for risk management.
  • New traceability and transparency measures must be facilitated in the wood market to improve links between sustainable forestry management and downstream value creation.
  • Substitution of fossil carbon with bio-based products, including wood construction should be boosted.

Read the full report here.

 
News you may be interested in
news
New project aims to mobilise Europe on ‘drawdown...

EIT Climate-KIC, together with the German Energy Agency (DENA)...

New project aims to mobilise Europe on ‘drawdown’
news
Mainstream climate change into post-2020 funding f...

EIT Climate-KIC is calling on the European Commission to...

Mainstream climate change into post-2020 funding framework, Climate-KIC urges European Commission
news
EIT Climate-KIC aims for truly pan-European reach

Europe’s leading public-private innovation initiative focused on climate change...

EIT Climate-KIC aims for truly pan-European reach
news
EIT Climate-KIC CEO urges mayors to consider their...

Cities must consider the infrastructure and environmental legacy that...

EIT Climate-KIC CEO urges mayors to consider their role in boosting climate innovation
news
Solar start-up praises EIT Climate-KIC’s assista...

EU-backed start-up incubation programmes such as EIT Climate-KIC’s Accelerator...

Solar start-up praises EIT Climate-KIC’s assistance on clean energy live stream
news
European Commission report on Sustainable Finance ...

The European Commission’s High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Sustainable Finance...

European Commission report on Sustainable Finance affirms its commitment to climate action
news
EIT Climate-KIC innovators featured in Forbes 30 u...

Six EIT Climate-KIC innovators have been honoured in this...

EIT Climate-KIC innovators featured in Forbes 30 under 30 Europe List
news
New EIT urban mobility and manufacturing innovatio...

The European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT), the...

New EIT urban mobility and manufacturing innovation communities launched
news
European innovation body offers support to Portugu...

EIT Climate-KIC is calling on leading business, educational and research...

European innovation body offers support to Portuguese and Lithuanian regions
news
Europe’s first open innovation platform for clim...

A new EIT Climate-KIC supported capacity-building tool for climate-smart...

Europe’s first open innovation platform for climate-smart agriculture launched
news
New study finds Climate-KIC and wider EIT Communit...

A new study has found that EIT’s Knowledge and...

New study finds Climate-KIC and wider EIT Community delivering significant impact for Europe
news
Climate-KIC start-up SOLHO one of Europe’s Top 5...

Climate-KIC start-up SOLHO was one of four winners honoured...

Climate-KIC start-up SOLHO one of Europe’s Top 50 innovators
news
Innovative solutions sought for urban challenges

Climate-KIC’s Urban Challenges programme is seeking to support start-ups...

Innovative solutions sought for urban challenges
news
Climate-KIC supported start-up ZOLAR completes €...

• Sunstone Capital, Statkraft Ventures, Partech Ventures and Tim...

Climate-KIC supported start-up ZOLAR completes €4m financing round
news
Women entrepreneurs talk climate business in Bonn

What characteristics do people think of when they hear...

Women entrepreneurs talk climate business in Bonn
news
Climate-KIC kicks off innovation initiative for ci...

Comprehensive plan launched to support urban agglomerations as test...

Climate-KIC kicks off innovation initiative for cities
news
Climathon rallies an international city movement t...

More than 100 global cities gather for world’s largest...

Climathon rallies an international city movement to tackle climate change
news
EU earth observation programme Copernicus opens it...

Participants in cities joining Climathon 2017 – the world...

EU earth observation programme Copernicus opens its database to world’s largest climate action hackathon
news
Climate-KIC Nordic wins Open Innovation tender

Climate-KIC Nordic will take the lead in a major...

Climate-KIC Nordic wins Open Innovation tender
news
EIT Climate-KIC innovators win at INNOVEIT 2017

Europe’s most ground-breaking entrepreneurs and innovators were honoured last...

EIT Climate-KIC innovators win at INNOVEIT 2017
news
The City of Malmö encourages school children to c...

For the progressive city of Malmö, hosting a regular...

The City of Malmö encourages school children to create climate action in this year’s Climathon
news
EIT RIS International Accelerator Bootcamp in Fran...

On 5 and 6 October 2017, start-ups from Bulgaria,...

EIT RIS International Accelerator Bootcamp in Frankfurt