Sustainable, innovative forest use for Europe
SIMWOOD aims to improve wood mobilisation by utilising an integrated approach. Besides topics like forest ownership and forest harvesting techniques, the project partners attach particular importance to the participation of existing local interest groups and the impact on a forest's capacity to provide other ecosystem services. SIMWOOD will record existing socio-economic, technical and ecological barriers and identify solutions for wood mobilisation and analyse them with regard to the objectives set in the 14 model regions of the project. In addition, through a series of pilot projects, SIMWOOD is testing promising solutions and initiatives in close cooperation with local stakeholders. With the aid of the "MOBILISER" online information system, which will be developed under the project, SIMWOOD partners will evaluate the effect of the new approaches and improve them as needed. This will give forest owners, foresters and SMEs access to information and recommendations relating, for instance, to forest management and harvesting techniques for their region. With the "MOBILISER", decision-makers for forest policy and scientists throughout Europe will be able to evaluate the effect of national and EU programmes for wood mobilisation and follow regional developments.
Industry and the job market should also benefit from SIMWOOD. "A better utilisation of forests is one solution for meeting the growing demand for wood in Europe," explains Roland Schreiber. "It is estimated that 853 million cubic metres of timber and 585 million cubic metres of wood for energy will be needed in 2030. The provision of such quantities represents a challenge for the forest and timber industry." The timber industry in Europe alone currently comprises about 600,000 companies such as sawmills and furniture manufacturers with four to five million employees altogether and an annual sales of EUR 550 billion. For them, a reliable local source of raw materials represents a guarantee for stable growth.
The project consortium comprises 28 partners from Germany, Belgium, Finland, France, Great Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Slovenia and Spain. They will investigate the optimum forest use in 14 model regions in the EU. The consortium also includes two European research institutes - the Joint Research Centre and the European Forest Institute. EFI leads the Knowledge transfer and dissemination work package, and is involved in three other areas: Regional profiles of wood mobilisation challenges; Regional mobilisation strategies and integrated evaluation; and European monitoring and policy support.
SIMWOOD partners at the project kick-off meeting in Freising, Germany.
Contact: Roland Schreiber (roland.schreiber @ lwf.bayern.de)
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