Join the Debate on the Bioeconomy and the Role of Forests

The inaugural edition of the Barcelona BioEconomy Forum will take place later this year at the Sant Pau Art Nouveau Site. The first edition of this biennial global forum will focus on the role of forests as a key resource for a sustainable bioeconomy. EFIMED Network members are invited to participate in the discussion through Pre-Forum Dialogues to be held this autumn.BIOeco2_250.png : 100.2373046875Kb

Forests have the potential to make a significant contribution to the development of the bioeconomy. They are a source of renewable raw materials with a low carbon footprint. Forests are a viable source of energy, and forest products are generally easy to either reuse or recycle. Moreover, forests constitute a green infrastructure: water supply, leisure, health and tourism are just a few of the activities they make possible.

In broad areas of the Mediterranean region, the underutilisation of forest resources and the need to reduce forest fire risk through sustainable management are creating interesting opportunities for increased production of biomass for bioenergy in the Mediterranean. Yet this is not the case everywhere. We must consider to what extent all Mediterranean forests can contribute to the increased supply of energy and raw materials. The challenge remains as to how forests in low forest cover countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean can contribute to a bioeconomy.

On the other hand, the high value of forest ecosystems and their services, the high cost for forest protection and the lack of vibrant and viable value chains highlight the need for a step-change in the forest management paradigm.

BIOeco3_250.png : 69.4423828125KbForests must be considered as multiple-use natural landscapes. This can be especially effective in the Mediterranean, where wood is not as productive or profitable as in regions with higher levels of rainfall. More emphasis can be made on using forests as multi-functional landscapes that provide wood, feed, food, activity areas, wildlife habitats, and tourism and recreation opportunities Forests should be understood within their broader landscapes, where a multitude of different products, services and functions are performed, and the true value of forests is recognised.

The Barcelona BioEconomy Forum will host high-level speakers and participants in a

a global discussion platform on these and other issues involved in creating a sustainable bioeconomy. The ambition is to inform action and motivate leaders to step up to the challenge of accelerating a transition to a sustainable society. The Forum will consider the bioeconomy from a global perspective, but with a particular focus on the Mediterranean context.

Leading scientific, civil society and public institutions are invited to participate in this dialogue by hosting focused meetings with key bioeconomy stakeholders around the world in the months leading up to the Forum. This collaboration should serve to contribute knowledge and proposals to the Forum, bring strategic actors to the table, and create new opportunities for dissemination of Forum results among a wider public.

Look out for next month’s edition of EFIMED Network News for more information on the Barcelona BioEco 2014 Pre-forum Dialogues and how you can participate.

For any questions in the meantime, please contact Inazio Martínez de Arano or Sarah Adams at EFIMED. inazio.martinez (at) efi.int; sarah.adams (at) efi.int.

Photos: Richard Martin and Sarah Adams

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