How can we mobilise more wood?

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Unlocking forest resources 

Most of the unused wood potential is ‘locked’ in European forests that belong to an estimated 16 million private forest owners.

Forest ownership is changing. Rural owners, together with their capacity for actively managing their own forests, are declining. The new generation of forest owners lives a more modern urban lifestyle and loses interest in their land or sees other priorities than timber production.

What are the challenges?

Socio-economic and technical barriers

The main challenges in forest ownership are demographic change, the increasing fragmentation of forest lands and the unstable income incentives from timber sales per owner.

  • Timber is no longer their first priority and other uses such as recreation or nature conservation are gaining in importance, so integrated forest land use approaches are needed.
  • In a marginal/unstable income situation, novel practices have to offer economically viable solutions, so collaborative forest management approaches are required.
  • The transfer of useable forestry knowledge to forest owners and stakeholders is also needed.

Environmental barriers

Sustainable forest management has to ensure a variety of forest functions as well as wood production. There is growing demand from society for non-economic ecosystem services like biodiversity conservation and water quality regulation.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613762.