“The portfolio of goods and services from forests is now very different to that two decades ago; yet there is a disconnect between the institutional framework and these new forms of forest use, leading to efficiency, equity and legitimacy deficits,” said Dr. John Innes, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia, Canada.
The changes – from forest planting and forest harvesting and operations, to forest use and forest products – occur at different levels. Today, forests produce a complex array of products from forest ecosystem services to timber and bio-products.
Market values are increasingly being attached to forest ecosystem services and this is changing the value systems associated with forestry.
Dr. Innes is coordinating a Task Force set up by IUFRO – Resources for the Future: Transformation in Forest Use – to better understand those changes.
“Globalization, population growth, resource scarcity and ecological degradation are all influencing forest use,” he said.
“For instance, a growing middle class requires more forest products accessible through global supply chains. At the same time, these supply chains are threatened by, and contribute to, resource scarcity and ecological degradation,” he said. “In another example, policy makers have identified forest products as important to climate change, so new products have been developed to meet the climate challenge.
“Both these examples have explicit implications for forests and are transforming forest use, yet the institutional response has been slow and inadequate in dealing with these drivers,” he said.
Dr. Innes further noted that humans now value, in monetary terms, the full breadth of forest ecosystem services including non-market values and that now we also view forests as feedstock for the bio-economy.
“These are distinct and relatively nascent changes in our relationship with forests,” he said. “For many Indigenous communities across the globe, the changing relationship with forests has been dramatic – particularly as they engage in the forest sector as market participants.
“Valuation of forest ecosystem services can run counter to holistic Indigenous values; but valuation also affords protection by adequately recognizing, quantifying and integrating these values into decisions, and policy makers can consider the full costs of their decision. These values in the past were typically ignored,” Dr. Innes added.
The Task Force will seek to generate insights about the pathways that can be adopted to encourage a sustainable transformation in forest resource use.
It will identify institutions, governance structures, policies and instruments that can help policy makers and stakeholders address problems and capitalize on opportunities brought about by rapid change and describe the potential benefits and implications from them in terms of equity, effectiveness and efficiency.
It will also develop recommendations for forest research institutions to build understanding for, and implementation of, those various tools to support successful transformation in forest use.
The Task Force also convened a roundtable of leading global experts from government, industry, academia, NGOs and Indigenous groups in Dehradun, India in April of this year to further discuss the sustainable transformation of forest use. A book elaborating on the outcomes of that roundtable is expected in the near future.
The Task Force on the transformation in forest use future is one of several established by IUFRO to advance knowledge under five research themes in accordance with the IUFRO 2015-19 Strategy.
The five themes are: Forests, Soil and Water Interactions; Forests for People; Forests and Climate Change; Forests and Forest-based Products for a Greener Future; and Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services and Biological Invasions.
Task Force website: http://www.iufro.org/science/task-forces/transformation-forest-use/
View all IUFRO Spotlights at http://www.iufro.org/media/iufro-spotlights/
Keynote speaker at the IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania – Forests for Sustainable Development: The Role of Research
Forests and the Bioeconomy: challenges and opportunities
Innovative technologies for bio-energy, bio-materials and other products will be one of the major themes at the IUFRO Regional Congress for Asia and Oceania on 24-27 October 2016 in Beijing, China. Dr Elspeth MacRae leads wood and fibre processing activities, including biorefinery, biodiscovery and bioplastics at Scion, New Zealand. Her keynote speech will highlight state-of-the-art biotech research and the role of bioproducts. Read more…
Renewable resources are critical to the sustainable future of our planet. That means biomass is being looked on, in many ways, as a potential game-changer.
It is seen as a mitigator of climate change, as a source of energy and as the source for a variety of bio-based products that range from wood to bio-plastics and composite materials.
Recognizing this, IUFRO’s newly constituted Sustainable Forest Biomass Network Task Force plans to explore the potentials and the risks of further development of biomass – specifically biomass from forests.
The Task Force is one of several organized to advance knowledge under five research themes in accordance with the IUFRO 2015-2019 Strategy. Read more…
A changing forest sector: Globalization triggers bio-economy and the search for new business opportunities
Scientists, practitioners and decision-makers from around the world meet in Vancouver, Canada from 27 to 30 August 2013 to discuss the implications of globalization on forests and their management.
(Vancouver/Vienna, 27 August 2013) Globalization is changing forests and the forest sector. Increases in international trade and investments have altered the global business environment for forestry. The growing world population moving towards nine billion by 2050, economic growth, rising resources demand and increasing environmental concerns are other drivers fostering transformation in forestry and the management of forests. New players enter the global market, and the bio-economy –– the production of ‘green’ products from renewable resources –– is gaining weight. From 27 to 30 August 2013, more than 100 representatives from research, industry and government will discuss how global trends influence forest resources, and how new opportunities for forest entrepreneurs and a more resource efficient society can be harnessed. The Conference has been organized by the University of British Columbia (UBC), Faculty of Forestry, on behalf of the Task Force “Resources for the Future” of the International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).