ForValor – Improve the European forest value chain


Pathfinder - Developing the business case for an improved European forest sector value chain based on better forest resource information


Pan-European, co-ordinated from the Netherlands

July 2016

Gert-Jan Nabuurs, Alterra, The Netherlands


Sustainable Land Use

Developing the business case for an improved European forest sector value chain based on better forest resource information

Wood and woody biomass will be very important for the European bio-economy. Important for traditional products, but also for new products and for energy. Demand for wood is expected to rise substantial by 2030-2050. In this trend towards the bio-economy, insight in availability of European forest resources, desired qualities and prices will be crucial, but is lacking now. This pathfinder will develop the initial stage and feasibility of an innovative tool to take stock of regionally available assortments and qualities of wood in the forest based on latest remote sensing and ground truth data.

As a first step, this Pathfinder will explore the information needs of key players in the forest timber chain on present and desired future forest data. Together with key players, availability and gaps of existing data will be surveyed and, data requirements on future timber volumes and qualities will be explored.

On the base of these data needs, a feasibility study will be performed for the development of a supporting tool to gather and to present these data. The feasibility study will, describe on the one hand technical requirements of the tool to be developed, and on the other hand the business case of the tool by exploring possible (funding) commitments of (key) stakeholders.

Need for insight in future forest timber supplies

For their supply of resources, the industries rely mostly on national or international forest statistics or on knowledge of forest owners or timber traders about stocks and qualities. This information however is fragmented, not transparent and does not assess the future availabilities (10-30 years). This lack of information has its impact on decision making and investments of the current industries. Also new industrial developments, using biomass as resource, are hampered by the lack of knowledge on timber quality and timber volumes in the future. Because of this only few investments are made for developing new techniques and setting up setting up new plants.

At the same time, many bio-based techniques are developed but only few businesses are set up in this field. Partly because of unknown or negative returns on investments caused by unknown assortments available at large scales, or competition for resources.

Each type of the wood processing industry has its own specific demands for wood quality and continuity of the supply. At this moment, there is only rough insight in volumes of biomass being harvested in the European forests, and there is very little insight in the quality and continuity of these volumes. Also, almost 40% of wood harvested in European forests ends up directly in a local inefficient small scale stove. Thus the climate mitigation effect is minimal.

Regional workshops

To get insight in future forest timber supplies we will organise several regional workshops in France, Germany and The Netherlands. Regional key stakeholders in the timber chain will be invited. The contribution of these stakeholders to the project is to explain their needs for improved data on availability of types and assortments of wood resources. Together with the partners involved in the project, stakeholders help to define the development of a possible support tool to gather and present the data.

How can you contribute?

You are considered as one of the key stakeholders of one of the regional workshops. We highly appreciate your participation, and you are cordially invited to this workshop.


If you would like to receive more information or if you have any questions about this project, please contact: