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.

 
Location
Sweden
Related Focus Area
Sustainable Land Use
Related Goal
Goal 6: Nurture forests in integrated landscapes
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC’s work in Slovenia

Last November, the Slovenian parliament passed a motion to...

EIT Climate-KIC’s work in Slovenia
In The News
Slovenia adopts EIT Climate-KIC Circular, Regenerative Economies Deep Demonstr...

The Slovenian parliament passed a motion to adopt an...

Slovenia adopts EIT Climate-KIC Circular, Regenerative Economies Deep Demonstration
In our community
Cities in a 1.5 degree world: What is there to learn from Leuven?
Cities in a 1.5 degree world: What is there to learn from Leuven?
In our community
Slovenia adopts EIT Climate-KIC circular economy proposal: Q&A with Kirs...
Slovenia adopts EIT Climate-KIC circular economy proposal: Q&A with Kirsten Dunlop
Innovation Spotlight
Elemental Water Makers’ solar desalination an asset as climate change ...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Elemental Water Makers is a water desalination scale-up that’s transforming water systems by enabling...

Elemental Water Makers’ solar desalination an asset as climate change threatens clean water
Innovation Spotlight
Zolar’s household solar kit is democratising the energy sector

Energy production and consumption are the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union, accounting for 80 per cent...

Zolar’s household solar kit is democratising the energy sector
In our community
Interview with policy and governance innovation experts at Madrid and Basque...
Interview with policy and governance innovation experts at Madrid and Basque Country Universities
In The News
COP25: Measurement and attribution of climate contribution to financiers

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key...

COP25: Measurement and attribution of climate contribution to financiers
In The News
COP25: Madrid city side event

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key...

COP25: Madrid city side event
In our community
Interview about Futures Literacy with Riel Miller, Head of Foresight at UNES...
Interview about Futures Literacy with Riel Miller, Head of Foresight at UNESCO
In The News
COP25: Climate leader insights

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key...

COP25: Climate leader insights
In The News
OpenSurface land-use tracking platform launches at COP25

Pioneering AI, satellite and ground-sourced data technology drives more...

OpenSurface land-use tracking platform launches at COP25
In The News
COP25: Towards the systemic transformation

With the carbon costs of travel in mind, key...

COP25: Towards the systemic transformation
In The News
Helsinki launches Climate Watch to track city’s emission reductions

The City of Helsinki recently launched the ‘Climate Watch’,...

Helsinki launches Climate Watch to track city’s emission reductions
Opinion
Moments matter*
Michelle Zucker Director, Community Activation, EIT Climate-KIC
Moments matter*
In The News
Naked Energy secures €6.17 million in funding

Naked Energy, an EIT Climate-KIC supported solar energy startup...

Naked Energy secures €6.17 million in funding
In The News
First European cluster accelerator programme launched in Frankfurt

How to take clusters to the next level and...

First European cluster accelerator programme launched in Frankfurt
Innovation Spotlight
Ioncell’s fiber innovation could help drive the circular economy transitio...

The textile, garment and fashion industries generate tonnes of pollution each year and recycle very little, which...

Ioncell’s fiber innovation could help drive the circular economy transition
Opinion
The challenge of redesigning venture capital
Dominic Hofstetter Transformation Capital, EIT Climate-KIC
The challenge of redesigning venture capital
In Detail
Clean and Healthy Construction

Insights from the C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen: Master Class and Market Dialogue for Clean and Healthy Construction. Why clean construction? Kevin Austin,...

Clean and Healthy Construction
Opinion
If we have figured out transformation, why is the world still in such a mess?
Susannah Fisher Research, EIT-Climate-KIC
If we have figured out transformation, why is the world still in such a mess?
Opinion
The tyranny of categorisation
Dominic Hofstetter Transformation Capital, EIT Climate-KIC
The tyranny of categorisation
Opinion
EIT Climate-KIC strengthens biodiversity through systems change
Felicity Spors Head of International Affairs, EIT Climate-KIC
EIT Climate-KIC strengthens biodiversity through systems change
Opinion
Why our cities must act as beacons for ambitious climate action
Tom Mitchell Chief Strategy Officer, EIT Climate-KIC
Why our cities must act as beacons for ambitious climate action
In The News
Biggest-ever global hackathon to tackle climate breakdown

Over 100 Climathon events around the world turn grassroots...

Biggest-ever global hackathon to tackle climate breakdown
In The News
Global call for transformative solutions to tackle the climate emergency

EIT Climate-KIC launches Climathon Global Awards and Healthy, Clean...

Global call for transformative solutions to tackle the climate emergency
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC supported crop insurance project acquired by world’s largest...

The insurance sector is well aware of the rising...

EIT Climate-KIC supported crop insurance project acquired by world’s largest re-insurer
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC innovators celebrated at 2019 EIT Awards

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has...

EIT Climate-KIC innovators celebrated at 2019 EIT Awards
Opinion
Part three: Climate action #NotinNewYork
Andy Kerr Director, UK & Ireland, EIT Climate-KIC
Part three: Climate action #NotinNewYork
In Detail
New EIT Climate-KIC supported report finds digital technologies can vastly a...

As part of the UN Climate Action Summit, the Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and Deloitte launched a report today, supported by EIT Climate-KIC,...

New EIT Climate-KIC supported report finds digital technologies can vastly accelerate the SDGs