Synergies and trade-offs in the European forest bioeconomy research: State of the art and the way forward

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The management and governance of forests must consider the synergies and trade-offs between different societal goals, especially with the bioeconomy being a key factor in recent sectoral strategies worldwide. This literature review explores the multidimensional concept of synergies and trade-offs, focusing on scientific publications dealing with the European forest bioeconomy. The objectives are twofold: 1) to provide an overview of the reviewed literature, including publication outlets, disciplinary diversity, and geographic scope of the studies; and 2) to analyze the synergies and trade-offs assessed by the reviewed articles, including the temporal scope of the assessment, the value chain segment considered, the methods used, and the policy implications and research gaps identified. The results show that European forest bioeconomy research concentrates on Finland, Sweden, and Germany, the three largest roundwood producers in the EU. The research is highly multidisciplinary (with a strong presence of social sciences), employing a variety of qualitative and quantitative methods. Out of the 138 studies reviewed, 22% explicitly analyze synergies and/or trade-offs in the forest bioeconomy. The reported synergies were widely varied, while most commonly reported trade-offs related to wood production versus climate change mitigation, biodiversity, and more generally other ecosystem services. The use of the synergy and trade-off concepts is often inexact, and the policy implications articulated in the literature are frequently formulated in generic terms, emphasizing communication. The findings and recommendations of this review are thus of relevance for both the scientific and practitioner/policy community.

Full reference:
L. Hetemäki, D. D'Amato, A. Giurca, E. Hurmekoski, Synergies and trade-offs in the European forest bioeconomy research: State of the art and the way forward, Forest Policy and Economics, Volume 163, 2024, 103204,
ISSN 1389-9341, .