Project aims for sustainable forest biomass in Europe
By European Forest Institute
Jan. 18, 2017 - To supply the bioeconomy with sufficient biomass, access to wood resources needs to be increased, growth rates accelerated and harvesting and silvicultural operations and business models improved.
In the next four years, the European project TECH4EFFECT aims at increasing access to wood resources while reducing the environmental impact of forest harvesting. A web-based benchmarking tool collecting and systematizing forest operations data from across Europe will be developed to provide a solid foundation for knowledge-based forest management. The European Forest Institute (EFI) leads the work package on Environment and Socio-Economics (WP7) and is involved in many others.
Supplying biomass to the bioeconomy
To meet the EU climate change targets and reduce Europe’s dependency on fossil based products, the bioeconomy relies on ever-increasing amounts of biomass. The next breakthrough in efficiency gains in European forest management will come through knowledge-based management for better informed planning and decision making. Timber harvesting is the most cost intensive and fuel consuming part of forest management and results in the most severe impacts on forest ecosystem services. Relatively small improvements in forest harvesting can lead to potentially large gains in cost, work and fuel efficiency. TECH4EFFECT coordinator Rasmus Astrup from NIBIO concludes: “Technologies are not improving as fast as they used to. We need to focus now on knowledge based advances in efficiency, especially in harvesting.”
Data-driven knowledge-based revolution of the European forest sector
TECH4EFFECT focuses on increasing access to wood resources through more efficient silviculture and a better understanding of the business models in the procurement of forest operation services. The project further considers increasing efficiency in forest harvesting and collection, and the reduction of soil impact from forest operations, making environmental considerations a measurable and integrated part of operational efficiency. The project offers the potential to revolutionize forest operations with a state-of-the-art knowledge-based benchmarking tool. Based on the large amount of data available in modern industrial forest management this benchmarking tool will provide easily accessible decision support.
The European Forest Institute (EFI) leads the work package on Environment and Socio-Economics (WP7) and is involved in many others. WP7 will quantify and illustrate how TECH4EFFECT technologies and procedures developed in in other work packages affect the environmental and socio-economic performance of the whole value chain. Overall impacts will be extrapolated to the European scale to contrast the achieved efficiency gains with the goals of 20 per cent reduced production costs, 15 per cent reductions in fuel consumptions, less environmental impacts (soil damage) and two per cent increased forest (yield) productivity.