The Swedish Forest-based Sector Research Agenda compiles the research and development priorities of Sweden’s largest export industry: the forest-based sector. A broad group of experts, from the industry as well as the research community, have actively contributed to an agenda that will guide the Swedish sector’s endeavours for years to come.
The Swedish forest-based sector must double investment in research
The Swedish forest industry has been creating efficient value chains for decades, based on sustainable forestry, effective logistics and competitive production facilities. This has made Sweden the third largest exporter of forest-based products in the world. Sustainable housing is being built with Swedish wood in Peking; in NewDelhi, juice cartons made of Swedish packaging are being sold, and in Paris, clothing made of Swedish textile pulp is being marketed, to name just a few examples.
Rigorous research efforts provide the right conditions for a competitive forest industry. However, current products can be further developed and supplemented with completely new materials that can not only replace the fossil-based products of today but also achieve completely new areas of use.
Today, Sweden is in many ways an international leader in forestry and forest industry research. Of the annual investment in research in silviculture and the forest industry, the forest industry and private foundations account for two thirds and state financing for one third. Investment in research needs to continuously increase in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the Swedish forest industries and for Sweden to manage the transformation to a fossil-free, biobased society and circular economy. It is believed that the Swedish forest-based sector needs to double future research investment to achieve this.
The English edition of the research agenda aims to connect Swedish national priorities to the international arena. International cooperation is essential as many research areas and innovation priorities are most efficiently pursued jointly, with stakeholders from other countries.
In this context, the Swedish Forest-based Sector Research Agenda will serve as the Swedish national complement to the European Strategic Research Agenda of the Forest-based Sector Technology Platform (FTP).
The forest industry and the research community agree that forestry and forest industrial research in Sweden should contribute to:
Increased growth in sustainably managed forests
Large, sustainably produced and carefully managed forests are the foundation for forest-based industry and a growing bioeconomy. Forests must satisfy many desires and demands. Knowledge which can lead to a sustainable increase in forest production is therefore a basis for the entire industry. It gives land owners a foundation on which to cultivate forests in the long- and short-term. It is also necessary to communicate with the general public and increase their insight and understanding of forestry, forest-related products and ecosystem services.
Enhanced competitiveness for existing processes and products
The continuous development of existing processes and products is fundamental for any industry to remain competitive. A competitive and profitable forest industry can concentrate on establishing new processes, products, materials and services, and contribute to the development of sustainable forest cultivation. Forestry is continually developing towards new markets and new goals of efficiency and sustainability but needs the strong support of research.
Development of new biobased products
Replacing fossil-based materials and products with renewable, recyclable and degradable ones is the key to sustainable development. In order to achieve the correct properties for various products, research is needed on how materials can be made stronger, safer and more mouldable. Our future markets may be found at the boundaries of different consumer areas and on the threshold between technical and scientific disciplines.
Increased industrial timber construction
The most commonly used, renewable construction material in the world has a bright future ahead when sustainability is brought to the fore. Wood is a light, yet strong material that enables a high degree of prefabrication. Industrial production allows good control of quality, cost, logistics and working environment. New research and demonstrations of new industrial value chains with collaboration between the wood industry and the building sector are required.
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