Forestry and Wood Industry in Europe

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. 

Download the publication in English and German.

Content: Forestry and Wood Industry in Europe (Forst- und Holzwirtschaft in Europa)

Publisher: Forst Holz Papier

Urban forests: a global perspective

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.

Content: Urban forests: a global perspective

Publisher: FAO

Authors: Borelli, S.; Conigliaro, M.; Di Cagno, F.

Year: 2023

The Basque Country presents its advances in bioeconomy for a ‘greener’ future

Originally published on Euskadi (in Spanish)

  • This morning, the Basque Government and the European Forest Institute, in collaboration with the NEIKER technology centre, held the Bioeconomy Innovation Day 2023 to present the latest scientific advances and innovative solutions in the circular economy.
  • The event, attended by some of the most prominent European agents in the bioeconomy, has become a networking space to share success stories and promote learning.
  • This event is part of the Basque Government’s strategy to promote the bioeconomy in the territory and in the business fabric of the Basque Country to achieve more sustainable production.

Wednesday, 4 October 2023. Vital green infrastructures cover more than 54% of the surface area of the Basque Country: forests. Sustainable forest management can help to adapt forests to climate change, balancing the production of timber, non-timber products and ecosystem services.

In a scenario in which the bioeconomy is gaining notoriety, the Basque Country is moving towards the ecological transition by promoting and developing different projects and initiatives related to the bioeconomy and forestry research.

To present their latest developments, the Basque Government and the European Forest Institute (EFI), with the collaboration of the NEIKER technology centre, a member of the Basque Research and Technology Alliance (BRTA), held the Bioeconomy Innovation Day this morning in Bilbao, Spain.

The event focused on presenting the latest scientific advances and innovative solutions for different aspects of the forest bioeconomy, such as examples of bio-construction, models for more sustainable and functional forestry or the dissemination of advanced bio-based materials. This sharing has been done through a combination of keynote speeches, short and high-impact presentations of concrete innovative solutions, and networking time.

The event was opened by Bittor Oroz, Vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy of the Basque Government. Other participants who intervened were Ananya Manna, Investment Director of the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF) and Leire Barañano, Director General of NEIKER and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the European Forest Institute (EFI), a European benchmark in forestry research, and Inazio Martínez de Arano, Coordinator of the Bioregions Facility, among others.

During his speech at the opening of the event, Bittor Oroz, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Policy of the Basque Government wanted to highlight the importance of promoting projects that “allow us to transform the economic model of the territory towards a more sustainable production that guarantees the well-being of people and the planet. This conference has allowed us to share with our European colleagues some of the most relevant projects that are being carried out in the Basque Country and which are making the region emerge as one of the bio-economic focal points of Europe”.

A European knowledge network

Networking was one of the highlights of the day. The event was attended by some of the main European players in the bioeconomy innovation ecosystem from fields as diverse as research, forestry management, industry, business, finance, government and civil society.

In fact, during the event, some of the successful cases of acceleration and support for the bioeconomy and sustainable forest management in European regions such as Germany, Finland and Ireland were shared. In the case of the Basque Country, the example of Enkarterri was highlighted, an initiative presented by Peli Manterola, director of HAZI, which is becoming a powerful bioeconomy hub that integrates training, entrepreneurship and business activities.

Towards more sustainable production

The Basque Country has been working for years in the field of the circular economy. In fact, according to data from the Basque Government’s Department of Economic Development, Sustainability and Environment, since 2000, the Basque economy has grown by 26%, while the consumption of materials has been reduced by 25% and the volume of urban waste in landfill has been reduced by 56%. In this time of ecological transition, the region’s economy is decoupling itself from the consumption of materials and the generation of waste through various measures and projects such as those mentioned above to promote the circular economy.

In this context, in October 2022, the Basque Government approved the Circular Economy and Bioeconomy Plan (in Spanish), an initiative aligned with the European Green Pact, which seeks to boost efficiency in the consumption of raw materials, reduce waste and optimise clean production. Among other challenges, this plan plans to increase material productivity by 30%, reduce the waste generation rate by 10% and position the Basque Country among the leaders of the circular economy in Europe.

This event is part of the Basque Government’s strategy to promote the bioeconomy in the territory and in the business fabric of the Basque Country through projects, platforms and initiatives to transform the linear production model – based on the continuous and growing extraction of raw materials – into a more sustainable production, which guarantees human well-being and the health of the planet and which allows the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established by the UN to be achieved.

Roadmap “Circular bioeconomy for Germany”

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

Publisher: Fraunhofer

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

Forest Joensuu: leading the new era

Globally unique and interconnected forest bioeconomy ecosystem, where all levels of education, world-class companies, and top-tier research converge.

Forest Joensuu is a collaborative network comprising prominent research, development, education and innovation entities in the Joensuu region, North Karelia-Finland, with the objective of enhancing both regional innovation capacity and global competitiveness.

Healthy forests provide excellent foundations for future resource-efficient forestry, where decades of expertise and material knowledge meet digitalisation. New innovations emerge by combining our expertise with other strengths of the region, such as photonics and emerging technologies.

Joensuu, the European Forest Capital, is the leading international player in the forest bioeconomy, accelerating the emergence of planet-restoring solutions that play a crucial role in combatting climate change, forest fires and loss of biodiversity.

Learn more about Forest Joensuu

Click the button below to learn more about our work and activities.

Featured image: courtesy of Forest Joensuu

FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge now open: support available for developing, demonstrating and piloting solutions to combat extreme wildfires in Europe

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: oic@fire-res.eu

Follow us on social media: X, LinkedIn and Facebook.

The project leading to this application has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 101037419.

FIRE-RES Open Innovation Challenge supporters

Exploring collaboration: Basque Country delegation’s visit to EFI

On 31 August 2023, a delegation from the Basque Country, Spain, visited the European Forest Institute (EFI) headquarters and the Bioregions Facility in Joensuu, Finland. The visit was part of a trip the delegation made to Helsinki and Joensuu to strengthen their relations and seek collaboration opportunities with different institutions working on the bioeconomy.

Robert Mavsar, interim director of EFI, introduced EFI’s work and strategic role in research and innovation, followed by Diana Tuomasjukka, who highlighted the ongoing projects and activities done in the Bioeconomy Programme to Estibaliz Hernáez, vice-minister of Technology, Innovation and Digital Transformation, Bittor Oroz, vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy, Leire Barañano, general director of Neiker, and Imanol Goenaga, advisor for environment and sustainability.

The Basque government has an ambitious bioeconomy roadmap. It aims to make the region a reference in the bioeconomy, promoting the generation and consolidation of high-value economic activities based on the optimal exploitation of regional resources.

Research and support

The delegation visited Luke’s wood technology lab and Metla’s wooden building. Photo by: Ekonomiaren Garapena via Twitter.

Presentations were followed by vivid discussions on the challenges that developing a sustainable bioeconomy has in the Basque Country and the rest of Europe, such as including biodiversity and social responsibility in industries, the role that perceptions and beliefs play in forest planning and management, and the need of models and tools that analyse ecological, economic and social aspects.

“The Basque Country counts with a lot of research information; what we need to develop further are models that can make information useable in a practical way. Effectively communicating the findings is also crucial to move from a traditional mindset to a more science-based one,” said Leire Barañano.

The work of EFI in providing tools that link knowledge to action and in communicating science to the population and industries is crucial in this scenario.

The Basque delegation at Business Joensuu. Photo by: Andrea Arancibia.

Lauri Sikanen, principal scientist and group manager of Luke—an organisation expert in the sustainable use of renewable natural resources—presented Luke’s research programmes and how they foster the forest-based bioeconomy in Finland.

Basque Country moving forward

The Basque delegation was received by Seppo Tossavainen, Business Specialist, and Kirsi Svard, Business Coach, at Business Joensuu, where they had the opportunity to learn more about the organisation’s development services and Forest Joensuu Innovation Ecosystems.

Companies supported by Business Joensuu—Hiil and WoodSense from Mielikki Nordic—pitched their solutions. They discussed the favourable conditions that Business Joensuu and the bioeconomy ecosystem in North Karelia provide for the development of forest-based companies.

Basque Country delegation at Arbonaut
The Basque Country at Arbonaut with Tuomo Kauranne. Photo by: Ekonomiaren Garapena via Twitter.

During the afternoon, they met Pekka Äänismaa, director and stakeholder relations at Metsäkeskus – Finnish Forest Centre, who presented the Centre’s work. Tuomo Kauranne, president of Arbonaut, gave a presentation on Living with fire: How to mitigate forest fires with digital twins of the forest.

Bittor Oroz, vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy, expressed his gratitude for the satisfactory relations that the Basque Country has with EFI as well as the membership of the region in the Bioregions Facility.

Featured image: Minna Korhonen by EFI

Be a beta tester for the Bioeconomy Solutions Platform

What’s the Forest Bioeconomy in Action Platform?

The Bioregions Facility invites beta testers to explore the pilot version of the Forest Bioeconomy in Action Platform—a community to discover solutions, learn from knowledge, and keep track of news related to carbon farming.

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.

Solutions platform

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:

Solution: SustainCERT

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.

SustainCERT overview on the solutions platform.

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.

Zerticarbon app overview on the solutions platform.

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.

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Email us at efibioregions@efi.int

Here’s what you can do on the solutions platform:

Create your account

Once you receive an email with a link to access the platform:

  • Click the “Click here to register to the platform” button in the registration email. This will take you to the page to create your login credentials.
  • Follow the instructions, fill in your email address and create your password.

Log in to the platform

Log into your account using the email address and password you used to create your account.

If you missed the initial invite or it has expired, simply visit Forest Bioeconomy in Action and click “forgot password” to create a new password and log in.

In your profile

On the platform, click the triple bar icon at the upper right corner of the menu:

  • Update your name or picture in “My Profile.”
  • Check other greenhouses and collections in “My Greenhouses.”
  • Click “Take the Tour” to learn more about the platform.
  • You can also “Change Password” or “Invite a Member.”

Discover solutions

In the navigation bar, click Discover:

  • Search solutions by clicking on the button “All Filters” or
  • Use the search bar using keywords, topics, or specific names.
  • Change the view to “Map” or “Grid.”

Inside a solution:

  • Read the overview and leave comments.
  • Upvote or downvote solutions.
  • Check key contacts and visit the original website.

Create a new collection:

  • Inside each solution, you can see the “+Collection” button at the bottom of the filter section.
  • Click “+Collection.”
  • Add selected solution to a collection, or
  • Create a new collection.

Learn

In the navigation bar, click Learn → Knowledge, Events, News to browse and search for other knowledge products, latest news and upcoming events.

Connect

In the navigation bar, click Connect → Members to see other members or (You can tag other members in the comment section when reading a solution.) → Forum to start a discussion with other members.

Recommend+

In the navigation bar, click Recommend+ to suggest a new solution. Our team will review the information provided and add it to the website if it fits our requirements.

Feedback

After using the platform, we will send a Feedback form requesting users to share their thoughts and help us improve the platform.

Questions

Do you have any questions or suggestions? Email us at bioregions@efi.int

See you on the platform!

Bioeconomy Innovation Day 2023 explores multifunctional forestry and bio-based construction

To foster a stronger bioeconomy development, innovation is key to accelerating progress towards a circular, carbon-neutral economy. Bioeconomy researchers, policymakers and entrepreneurs help shape bioeconomy innovations that have the potential to bring about sustainable and transformative change for the forest-based sector.

On 4 October 2023, the European Forest InstituteBioregions Facility, Neiker and the Government of Basque Country, Spain, join to discuss pressing issues on sustainable and multifunctional forestry, advanced biomaterials and bio-based construction at the Bioeconomy Innovation Day 2023.

Financers, policymakers, and key actors in the bioeconomy innovation ecosystem, from research, business, forest management, industry, and civil society, will meet and explore new opportunities to drive the green transition. 

Start-ups, entrepreneurs, researchers, NGOs, venture and impact investors, all bioeconomy stakeholders, and society are invited to submit their innovations for a chance to pitch their solutions at the Bioeconomy Innovation Day in Bilbao, Spain.

View the agenda here (last update: 27 September 2023).

Bioeconomy innovation agenda

Looking for more events? Explore our Events page and add your favourites to your calendar.

Agenda for Wednesday (4 October 2023) – CEST

Get your ticket:

  • 8:15 | Registration
  • 9:00 | Welcoming words
  • Bittor Oroz, Vice-minister of Fisheries, Agriculture and Food Policy
  • 9:10 | Regenerative forestry: Boosting economic growth and natural assets side by side
  • Timo Lehesvirta, Leading Nature Expert, Metsä Group
  • 9:35 | Why Investing in the European Bioeconomy?
  • Ananya Manna, Investment Director, European Circular Bioeconomy Fund (ECBF)
  • 10:00 | Introduction to the Sessions and Networking Methodology
  • Leire Barañano, General Director, Neiker

Session 1 Sustainable and Multifunctional Forestry

  • 10:05 | Challenges and Opportunities for European Forestry
  • Bart Muys, Division Forest, Nature and Landscape, KU Leuven, Belgium
  • 10:30 | Solution providers
  • Zerticarbon: Blockchain-certified carbon sink solutions
  • HAZI: Digital tools for forest inventory and monitoring
  • Fortra: Traceability of wood products by the Xunta de Galicia
  • ArboFiRM: Digital twins of forest to mitigate forest fires by Arbonaut
  • VigilanTree: Artificial Intelligence and image classification to better understand our Ecosystems by Cesefor
  • 11:30 | Networking & coffee break

Session 2 Advanced Bio-based Materials 

  • 12:00 | Policy and Market Trends in the Material Use of Biomass
  • Michael Carus, Managing Director, nova-Institute GmbH
  • 12:25 | Solution providers
  • Evolgene: Cellulose nanocrystals for industrial and biomedical applications
  • Axalko: High-end bicycle frames made of natural fibres
  • Biorefformed: Mediterranean biorefinery to produce added value products
  • 13:30 | The Basque Green Deal and the Bioeconomy
  • Arantxa Tapia, Minister of Economic Development, Sustainability and the Environment
  • 14:00 | Lunch and networking

Session 3: A Boost for the Forest Bioeconomy Innovation Lessons from European Regions

  • 15:00 | Presentation of best cases of the acceleration and support of the bioeconomy in European regions: 
  • Irish Bioeconomy Foundation: Discovering the full potential of the Irish Bioeconomy
  • Enkarterri: New accelerating service of the bioeconomy in Euskadi
  • BioBoost: Accelerating the bioeconomy in Catalonia
  • Business Joensuu: Bioeconomy Innovation in the forest capital of Europe
  • Bioeconomy Austria: The gateway to the Austrian bioeconomy
  • Coffee, local sweets & Networking 
  • 17:30 | End of the Bioeconomy Innovation Day

More

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Woodworking industries in European regions: LIGNA 23 workshop insights

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.

Oskar Azkarate, Baskegur, at LIGNA 2023.

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.

Inazio Martinez, Bioregions Facility, and Manuel García Barbero, CESEFOR, at LIGNA 2023

“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.

Images: Rodrigo Mendes