On 27 and 28 January 2024, the 31st Annual Information Day of the Information and Demonstration Centre on Renewable Energy Network (I.D.E.E.) took place at the Centre Wood in Olsberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, where participants learned about efficient heating solutions from wood in the form of pellets, logs or wood chips.
In addition, experts in the field delivered lectures on the topic; presentations showcasing different heating systems and solutions by manufacturers were followed by practical demonstrations, such as those by Wald und Holz NRW, illustrating the preparation of firewood from logs.
Together with the Cooperation Platform Forest Wood-Paper (FHP), the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Regions and Water Management commissioned the first study on the significance of the forestry and wood industry throughout Europe. The effects of the forestry and wood industry on value creation and employment were investigated by means of collaboration at a European level.
Urban forestry is not a one-size-fits-all solution; each city and region, with its own unique set of challenges and opportunities, requires tailored strategies.
In recognition of the diversity and distinctiveness of urban forestry issues and their potential for mitigating environmental and socioeconomic inequality across the globe, FAO has asked experts around the world to share their views on how urban forests and trees are perceived and managed in their respective geographical areas, bringing together a broad range of regional perspectives.
The primary goal of this publication is to provide a comprehensive overview of the current state of urban forestry worldwide. By showcasing the regional perspectives, insights, experiences and case studies in urban and peri-urban forestry (UPF), we hope to inspire individuals, communities and policymakers to reimagine their relationships with urban green spaces.
Fraunhofer researchers present a bioeconomy roadmap for resources conservation, climate protection, and food security
Climate change, over-consumption of resources, international dependency on the supply of raw materials and an increasing global population are major challenges for politics, industry and society. To address these ongoing crises, raw materials must undergo a similar transition to those in energy and agriculture. In addition, resilient systems must be established to ensure the security of supply in Germany. A key factor in this process is the circular bioeconomy, which is based on the circular economy and the use of renewable raw materials instead of non-renewables. Researchers at the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft are highlighting the scientific and technological potential of the bioeconomy in their roadmap “Circular bioeconomy for Germany”. The roadmap includes recommended actions to be taken at a political level to help accelerate the market ramp-up of bio-based products and technologies, and to address social and ecological challenges.
Content: Roadmap “Circular bioeconomy for Germany”: A roadmap by the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for implementing the bioeconomy in Germany
Authors: Jens Buller Robert Daschner, Lena Grimm, Michael Hofer, Bärbel Hüsing, Julia Krayer, Robert Miehe, Elke Präg, Esther Stahl, Andreas Stäbler, Anna-Katharina Stumpf, Lina Vieres, Bert Volkert and Sven Wydra
Europe is facing an increasing number of extreme wildfires, often with devastating consequences for people and the environment. These fires affect southern Europe as well as central European and Nordic countries.
As the limits of fire suppression-centred strategies become evident, practitioners, researchers, and policymakers increasingly recognise the need to develop novel approaches that expand the scope of work in this field, including the root causes and the impacts of Extreme Wildfires.
Working towards greater resilience to such extreme fires, FIRE-RES and its partners launched the FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge for applications aiming to address the most important challenges faced in the prevention of and preparation for, in response to, and enabling recovery after extreme wildfires.
The 11 Living Labs of FIRE-RES were assigned to identify these most pressing challenges, grouped into seven themes and 17 challenges: ‘Risk Communication and Awareness’, ‘Engagement and Empowerment’, ‘Training and Education’, ‘Management Before, During and After Extreme Wildfire Events’, ‘Monitoring’, ‘Forecasting and Decision Support’, ‘Policy and Governance’. Explore all themes and challenges here.
The Open Innovation Challenge is open to innovators, entrepreneurs, technologists, researchers, businesses of all sizes, experts, and all forward-thinking minds to step up and submit cutting-edge solutions addressing the challenges experienced by different stakeholders coping with the risks of extreme wildfires.
It is seeking innovative solutions of all kinds, for instance, technological, social or business-related: products, services, platforms, processes, procedures, best practices, etc. Solutions at all development stages are welcome, from early ideas, methods, and prototypes to close-to-market or market-ready services and products.
Successful applicants with early-stage solutions, such as ideas, will be supported to develop their solutions. Later-stage solutions, such as prototypes, close-to-market, or market-ready solutions, will be supported to demonstrate, pilot and upscale their solutions. This will include brokerage of on-the-ground contacts and testing of their solutions’ feasibility in the realistic contexts of the Living Labs. Successful applicants will receive mentoring and in-kind support as well as, in selected cases, financial support. For the latter, a total of €168.000 is available for this Open Innovation Challenge, with individual entries being eligible for up to €5.000 for demonstration activities and up to €16.000 for piloting activities.
The FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge is open until 19 November 2023 (23:59 CET). For full details, please visit the website here.
Sign up for the FIRE-RES Newsletter and receive the latest updates about our activities and the Open Innovation Challenge here.
For questions about applications, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Innovative solutions are crucial to the development of the bioeconomy, and the platform can contribute to it. Initially, the solutions are focused on carbon farming, but the goal is to expand it to various forest bioeconomy topics.
The Facility is working with Ubuntoo, an environmental solutions platform provider, to search for relevant solutions. The platform is powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and human curation, but users can also recommend solutions from other sources.
The platform has about 100 solutions waiting to be explored, commented and shared. Users can filter the solutions based on “location,” “stage of development,” “seeking opportunity,” “solution theme,” and “organisation type.”
They can read an overview of the solution, check the organisation’s key contact, leave comments, and upvote or downvote the solution.
A special feature is creating a collection with chosen solutions, like a Spotify playlist but for project solutions. This collection has a unique link, and users can share the page with others.
Different knowledge products can be found in the “Learn” section, e.g., EFI publications, peer-review papers and other materials. The “News” and “Events” sections are useful for staying updated with the latest news and upcoming events.
Explore the solutions
Here’s a preview of two solutions:
Overview: SustainCERT is a climate impact verifier that offers efficient and scalable certification through its technology-driven platform. A recognised authority for the Gold Standard for Global Goals, SustainCERT ensures that certified climate actions align with sustainable development goals.
Solution: Zerticarbon app
Overview: Zerticarbon, a company that offers certified carbon sink solutions using blockchain technology, is dedicated to advancing climate-smart forestry solutions, connecting forest owners with companies interested in neutralising carbon emissions. The solution has recently won the Bioregions’ Open Innovation Challenge.
Become a beta tester
Are you interested in becoming a beta tester? Fill out the request form now. Selected candidates will receive an email from the Bioregions Facility to register for the platform.
As a beta tester for the Forest Bioeconomy in Action Platform, you have direct access to the latest solutions applicable to the European market. Join the movement and help us make a difference in the bioeconomy.
On 18 May 2023, the Bioregions Facility hosted a workshop called Woodworking Industries in European Regions: Current Situation, Development Pathways and Investment Trends at LIGNA 2023 in Hanover, Germany.
The General Director of Baskegur, Oskar Azkarate, emphasised the significance of a regional bioeconomy strategy, such as the Strategic Plan for Timber in the Basque Country (PEMA in Spanish) and Basque Circular Forest-based Bioeconomy Strategy. These initiatives aim to establish a comprehensive framework for advancing forestry in the region. To illustrate, the Basque Country Forest Bioeconomy Profile developed by the Bioregions Facility provides an overview of the regional bioeconomy innovation ecosystem in the Basque Country.
Next, Martin Schwarz from Wald und Holz in North Rhine-Westphalia shared his insights. In a region with a population of approximately 18 million, wood serves as the primary construction material. With the growing need for housing and apartments in urban areas, there has been a rising demand for wooden materials in urban construction, building modernisation, refurbishment and social housing projects. The legislation now permits wooden multi-storey buildings of up to eight stories, essential for promoting sustainable development in the construction sector and reducing carbon footprint.
Developing a bioeconomy strategy and the support provided by municipalities in utilising wood is essential for the forestry sector. However, the question arises: how can we give timber a higher value? Inazio Martinez, a researcher at EFI and coordinator of the Bioregions Facility, asked Manuel García Barbero, an architect and Wood Construction Manager at CESEFOR, regarding Castilla y Léon’s approach to increasing the value of its timber.
“In Spain, we have forest fires, and the problem is probably the abandonment of forests. It’s been demonstrated that things that are valued are better cared for,” stated Mr Barbero. While many believe forests should be left untouched, Spain’s forests require a different perspective, as they thrive through active management. Society has adopted the notion that forests should no longer be managed. Still, this approach leads to imbalances and problems — fire plays a natural role in forests by clearing brush and eliminating dead trees, for instance.
Eduard Correal Mòdol, representing the Forest Science and Technology Centre of Catalonia, concluded the discussion by presenting how forests have been managed in Catalonia, which bears similarities to those of Castilla y León. With over 60% of the region’s land covered by forests, Catalonia faces an increasing threat from wildfires as climate change advances in Spain. It is imperative to manage forests and fires effectively while educating the public about their natural occurrence.
Participating in LIGNA has been invaluable in acquiring knowledge about sustainable wood processing practices and discovering how they can be incorporated into our work at the Bioregions Facility.
According to a recent survey targeting life science students in Europe, nearly 30% of respondents are very interested in becoming entrepreneurs in the field of bioeconomy. However, there are barriers that prevent students from pursuing business opportunities.
Humanity is becoming too big for our planet. After relying on a fossil-based economy for 200 years, we are threatening to reach a tipping point, crossing the resilience boundaries of our world. Using the words of Greta Thunberg – how dare you continue like this! – it is time for transformational action.
On December 7, 2022, the REGIONALE 25 project “Building with wood” – development of a model and competence region in South Westphalia, has been awarded with the second star. The project is an important part of the efforts of South Westphalia to develop sustainable and complementary projects to anchor resource-saving construction in the region.
The project is aimed at forest owners, the wood processing industry, companies in the wood construction and carpentry trades as well as planners, private and public builders. From the headquarters of Zentrum HOLZ in Olsberg, Germany, they are to be brought together in a network to share knowledge about new technologies and innovations in timber construction and to build up expertise. And at the same time, to initiate and make visible good examples in South Westphalia. This applies to the use of wood in industrial and commercial buildings as well as in public and private buildings.
The project competition Land.Voraus! identifies outstanding rural development projects, awards them with attractive prize money and supports them in advertising the projects. The aim is to support and spread good project ideas in rural areas in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and South Tyrol.
Who can participate? Every actor who implements a project to strengthen rural areas in Germany, Austria, Switzerland or South Tyrol and can take part in the competition.
Prizes A total of 12 winning projects are selected each year. The selected projects receive prize money and are supported in publicizing their projects. The announcement takes the form of a project calendar, which is distributed to the administrative districts and LEADER regions in the DACH region. Each winning project is featured on one page of the calendar with a picture and a brief description of the project.
The Partnerships for Regional Innovation – PRI Pilot Action held its first pilot plenary meeting on 7 July 2022. The initiative was launched in June jointly by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions. The first plenary meeting was an interactive event to generate discussions, dialogue, and co-creation among all PRI Pilot participants. It presented the policy context around PRI, the PRI Playbook and a proposal for a PRI Pilot roadmap, outlining the organization of pilot activities
Bioregions Facility has been selected to participate in the pilot project as a group of regions, consisting of its current regional members: Basque Country; North Rhine-Westphalia; and North Karelia. Representatives of the Facility joined the event, together with more than 150 participants.
The online event, started with the presentation of the New Innovation Agenda for Europe and PRI, highlighting the need of a holistic approach, investment, diffusion, circular economy, and innovation to tackle global challenges such as climate change. The work that PRI does at a regional level was also emphasized, including establishing networks, creating cooperation and consortia in regions working in the same value chain.
A call was made to select a contact person representing each region with an academic or scientific background to act as a scientific track and maintain constant interaction with the directive.
The PRI Playbook
During the event, the PRI Playbook was presented as a guidance document, containing a range of tools and mechanisms to coordinate and enable the exploration of broad-ranging policy mixes for system-level innovation. The playbook will act as an empowering tool for policymakers and should be adapted to European realities, as it will be co-created via joint work and with feedback from the regions.
It contains a Toolbox that gathers 68 tools for diagnosis, policy design and implementation; and three building blocks as an initial approach to be co-developed through the pilot: Open Discovery Process, Policy and Action Mix and the Strategic Policy framework. Three working groups will be working around each building block.
The event ended with a discussion and feedback from pilot participants from the different participant regions, and final remarks from the EU committee.
Michal Miedzinski, economic and policy researcher at JRC said: “This is a collective effort from the bottom, with the best minds we can gather and do a collation of the willing, these are all the ingredients we need to move forward“.
Thomas Wobben, Director at Committee of the Regions gave a strong final message: “We really hope that this collaboration is building on trust, that we are able to have a frank exchange, and that we can help each other”
The Partnerships are rooted in the upcoming Innovation Agenda for Europe to help integrate initiatives and investment at EU and national levels. It is an effort directly targeted to improve Innovation ecosystems as one essential area to boost Europe’s innovation performance. The key objective is to strengthen interconnection of regional and local innovation ecosystems for a green and digital Europe and to improve resilience of European sustainable value chains and deep-tech sectors.
The technical storage or access is strictly necessary for the legitimate purpose of enabling the use of a specific service explicitly requested by the subscriber or user, or for the sole purpose of carrying out the transmission of a communication over an electronic communications network.
The technical storage or access is necessary for the legitimate purpose of storing preferences that are not requested by the subscriber or user.
The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for statistical purposes.The technical storage or access that is used exclusively for anonymous statistical purposes. Without a subpoena, voluntary compliance on the part of your Internet Service Provider, or additional records from a third party, information stored or retrieved for this purpose alone cannot usually be used to identify you.
The technical storage or access is required to create user profiles to send advertising, or to track the user on a website or across several websites for similar marketing purposes.