Forest and forest raw materials

A circular bio-based economy requires increased and sustainable access to forest biomass. To achieve this, knowledge, technology and sustainable silviculture and forest production methods are needed.

In Sweden and the rest of Europe, forest biomass is an important resource for achieving fossil-freedom. Forest raw materials offer greater renewability and circularity characteristics compared to many other materials. At the same time, many demands are made of the forest’s other benefits and functions. Balancing these demands to achieve the greatest possible overall benefit and sustainability is a societal challenge. Greater knowledge of and research into forestry enables a balance between growth, production, and natural values and provides factual information as a basis for informed dialogue, well-founded decisions and co-operation. In this way, the interaction between all values of the forest can be promoted.

Forests and woodland are valuable societal resources that in Sweden are owned and managed by private forest owners, forest companies, the state and municipalities, the Church of Sweden, and various foundations. Continued sustainable development of Swedish forestry depends on all categories of forest owners having the knowledge and tools they need to set their own well-founded economic, environmental and social goals. Interdisciplinary research into forest-related issues and dialogue between different societal stakeholders need to increase. Research into knowledge-driven development of technology and sustainable methods that incorporate the entire value chain is another fundamental requirement.

Increased knowledge of forest ecosystems

Active and sustainable use of forests and woodland requires extensive knowledge of how ecosystems work, their potential, and their limitations. Increased knowledge of forest ecosystems forms the very basis for the development of techniques and methods that promote biodiversity, ecosystem services and a prosperous forest sector that produces valuable wood.

The overall result of cultivation work with planting and producing trees based on ecosystems’ conditions must be utilized in the best possible way. In Sweden, around 80 million tonnes of raw biomass are harvested and processed annually, which go to customers in various industrial segments. In-depth knowledge regarding access to forest raw material and its properties is needed for investment decisions and planning of sustainable production.

Planning and management

More knowledge about the standing forest makes it easier to plan the use of raw material. Digitalisation opens completely new opportunities for analysis and production control by linking data from forests with industry. Opportunities to combine different data sources enable improved planning and management of transport and production for different needs and timeframes.

Energy efficiency and conversion to fossil-free vehicle propulsion are also key research areas, as is research and development to minimise negative impacts of forestry on land, the environment and people.

If you want to know more about what research can drive development for forests and forest raw materials, read the Swedish Forest-based Sector Research Agenda here.