ROSEWOOD Network Conference and Forestry Innovation Workshop 2020 brought together experts of the wood value chain to discuss the future of the sector in Europe
With forest fires of unprecedented intensity raging in Australia, the future of forestry is more than ever up for discussion. European answers to the challenges of a changing climate and to a growing market demand for wood were at the centre of debate at the ROSEWOOD Final Conference and the Forestry Innovation Workshop, which took place from 15th to 16th January in Florence. The event was jointly hosted by the Horizon 2020 funded ROSEWOOD Network of Regions on Sustainable Wood Mobilisation as well as EFI, ERIAFF and other European associations of the forestry and wood community. EFI's Liaison Officer Harald Mauser moderated the entire event.
Marco Remaschi, Regional Minister for Agriculture of the Tuscany Region and ERIAFF political coordinator, opened the conference, highlighting the importance of European exchange on innovation in forestry for strengthening the sector’s competitiveness. His statement was reinforced by Alberto Negro, President of ANARF and EUSTAFOR associate, who pointed out the need for strong frameworks of exchange, connecting practitioners and EU actors of the sector.
A topic fervently discussed in Florence was the use of public funds for the forest sector. Despite its significant contribution to CO2 sequestration, biodiversity preservation and to the EU’s bioeconomy, public spending per forest hectare in Europe is low, ranging in between 5 to 105 Euros according to the analysis of ROSEWOOD. "Mobilizing more resources from forests also requires mobilisation of more funds, especially if we want to encourage sustainable forest management among small-scale forest owners", emphasized ROSEWOOD partner Alvaro Picardo of the Junta de Castilla y Leon.
Besides the lack of funding, the ROSEWOOD Network identified further needs and opportunities in wood mobilisation for the network’s regions; North, South, Central and East Europe. ROSEWOOD collected over 100 Best Practices and Innovations that propose exemplary solutions to the sector’s challenges, from small owner activation to increasing forest biodiversity and resilience. At the conference, the ROSEWOOD Regional Roadmaps’ recommendations for a strategic transfer of these cases were put up for discussion. The digital transitions of the sector as well as the combat against climate change were acknowledged as main areas calling for greater cooperation among European actors.
Speakers at the conferenced showed forestry’s innovative power that ranges from introducing new technologies like lidar in forest inventory to pursuing novel approaches for wood flow management and local wood valorization through charcoal or biomass nutrients production. The sector is not short of fresh ideas for better managing, harvesting and processing of wood resources. An opportunity to intensify the exchange on innovation will be the Horizon 2020 project ROSEWOOD4.0. Officially kicked-off in Florence, the project will continue the work began in ROSEWOOD, with a clear focus on digitalisation. Not to forget about future editions of the Forestry Innovation Workshop, a well-established European stakeholder event. The next workshop will take place in 2021.