What is the future of the forest-based sector in Europe?

For example, the rise of emerging economies (e.g. China), increasing role of fast growing plantation forestry in subtropics, and the rapid spread of digital media are fundamentally changing the global forest products market structures. Moreover, new emerging bio-economy products and services and climate and energy policies will move the European forest based sector towards cross sectoral new bio-economy. Indeed, is the concept of forest based sector still widely used in 2033, or are we simply talking about bio-economy?

What does science know and tell about these changes? Unfortunately, not yet enough. For example, the widely cited FAO UNECE forest sector outlook studies or academic research tend to tell more about the past trends extrapolated to the future, rather than about the forthcoming structural changes. Thus, there is a clear need to start to pay more attention to the structural changes in the European forest science forum. By doing this, it will help, and make itself even more relevant, for the stakeholders and decision makers, who are desperately trying to understand what is happening in the coming decades, and how to act in face of the forthcoming changes and uncertainties.

In order to help to answer these needs, EFI is carrying out a synthesis study on the Future of the European Forest-Based Sector: Structural Changes Towards Bio-economy (FUTURE). It will be published in September 2014. The background facts behind this study, and some expected preliminary insights of the study, were presented by Lauri Hetemäki in EFI 20th Anniversary seminar in Helsinki, November 22.

Studying the future of the forest sector: Review and implications for long-term outlook studies
Elias Hurmekoski, Lauri Hetemäki
Forest Policy and Economics vol 34

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