Forest for Society

Head of Programme: Georg Winkel

European forests are an essential element of the European landscape, substantially contributing to the welfare of our societies. They provide valuable goods and services, and have a positive effect on the most strategic resources to sustain life on our continent: water, soil and biodiversity. Forests are also helping to contribute substantially to the bioeconomy, by providing the possibility to substitute fossil based raw materials and products with renewable materials. On the other hand, the societal changes are creating increasing demand for many of the services provided by forests, such as recreation, urban forests, hunting, mushroom and berries. 

Currently the European forest-based sector and the societal demands for forests are in a stage of major transformation and structural changes. It is expected that these changes will continue in the coming decades. This situation heightens the need for science-based knowledge and information.


The Forest for Society Programme addresses the above issues with an interdisciplinary approach, and especially from the social sciences perspective. Its focus is on cross-cutting bioeconomy issues, including policy and governance, industry products and markets, and ecosystem services. It also emphasises the foresight perspective in order to provide strategic knowledge and information about the changes in the operating environment, and the consequent potential impacts.

The Forest for Society Programme generates scientific knowledge, information and evidence-based policy support for a better understanding of the societal issues related to forests and bioeconomy. Accordingly, the Forest for Society Programme work supports the information needs of scientists, policy makers, bioeconomy stakeholders, media, and the public at large.

Major topics addressed

  • Forest-based markets, products, services and policy developments in bioeconomy
  • Increasing knowledge of the societal preferences related to the non-market goods and services, and their future development
  • Markets for ‘public good’ forest services 
  • Forest owners’ profiles, motivations and preferences, and the profitability of forestry 
  • Forest-related policies and governance in Europe 
  • Outlook, scenarios, and strategic foresight knowledge related to the above issues, and new emerging topics 
  • Methods and networking tools development for the above issues

For projects under the Forest for Society Programme, see Project Database.
For staff in the Forest for Society Programme, see staff pages.