Sustainable forest bioeconomy discussed at high-level summit

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OneForestSummit speakers and Macron

EFI’s Director Marc Palahí spoke about Developing a sustainable forest bioeconomy that works for forests and people to an audience of Heads of State and Ministers at the One Forest Summit, which took place in Gabon on March 2.

He focused on why the emerging forest bioeconomy offers unprecedented opportunities to decarbonise our economy while creating economic and social value to ensure the sustainability of forest ecosystems.


Forest resources, if managed sustainably, are renewable and circular by nature. With emerging science and technology, wood can be transformed into a new range of biobased solutions that can replace and environmentally outperform fossil products from industrial sectors which are hard to decarbonize. These include wood engineering products that can replace concrete and steel, wood-based textiles and advanced materials such as nanocellulose.

Macron Ali Bongo t-shirt
President Macron and President Ali Bongo Ondimba investigating an EFI wood-based t-shirt

The EU hosts 4% of the world´s forests but the European forest sector is responsible for 40% of the global forest products export value. Africa as a continent harvests 54% more wood than the EU but the forest products export value is 16 times lower - 90% of the wood harvested is used for low efficient energy such as cooking and heating, and exports take the form of logs. This does not create the right incentives to avoid degradation and deforestation. “Using half of the wood for producing wood-based textiles we could replace all the polyester we are currently using. That would have both great climate and economic benefits”, Marc explained.

The One Forest Summit in Libreville was announced during COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, by President Emmanuel Macron of France and President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon. It brought together Heads of State and Ministers from three continents to move forward on climate action and the preservation of biodiversity, by promoting solidarity between the three major forest basins on a global scale: the Amazon forest, the Congo basin and the tropical forests of South East Asia.


More information

One Forest Summit:

Palahí, M. et al. 2020. Investing in Nature as the true engine of our economy: A 10-point Action Plan for a Circular Bioeconomy of Wellbeing. Knowledge to Action 02, European Forest Institute.

Hetemäki, L., Palahí, M. and Nasi, R. 2020. Seeing the wood in the forests. Knowledge to Action 1, European Forest Institute.