With its unique innovation portfolio and many technological solutions, the forest-based sector can foster the transition to a reliable, sustainable and competitive energy system and contribute to reducing the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), while improving sustainable land use and forest management. This message was delivered by Johan Elvnert, Managing Director of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP),
According to Elvnert “The sector can sustain the transition to a low-carbon green economy by supplying additional forest biomass to the market. To achieve this, the forest-based sector will need to sustainably increase harvesting possibilities in Europe by 30% up to 2030”. “FTP contributes to this endeavour by ensuring that EU funding for innovation meets such targets”, he added.
Since its launch in 2014, the EU Research and Innovation Framework Programme Horizon 2020 has funded more than 30 research and innovation projects in the sector, which cover aspects of enhanced biomass production, efficient use of wood, and responsible management of forest resources. For Elvnert, this fact demonstrates that public authorities are confident that the sector can deliver innovative solutions.
“The mitigation potential of the sector goes beyond the carbon sinks in our forests. Carbon is stored in all harvested wood products and in many innovative biobased materials that have the potential to substitute fossil-based materials, fuels and products. Building new, wood-based buildings and cities is the smartest way to use materials with low embodied energy, and thus, fulfil the Paris Agreement”, he concluded.
Forestry is really at the heart of Europe’s Bioeconomy. The forests, being the most important green infrastructure of the Old continent (covering 40% of land), provide crucial ecosystem services to society. This includes protecting key resources like water, soil and biodiversity, and providing renewable resources (wood and non-wood products) that are transformed into biobased products and bioenergy.
The European forest-based sector is clearly becoming more diversified, interlinked, and cross-sectorial. It is increasingly affected by issues such as climate change impacts and policies, energy policies, advances in new technologies, the increasing role of services, and trends towards low carbon bioeconomy. Furthermore, the forest sector is becoming more integrated with other industrial sectors such as construction, energy, chemicals and textile industries.