Science day

Session 1: Transition towards bioeconomy: changing production systems and consumption patterns

Biomass has been used by humans to provide shelter, food, energy and other goods for many millennia. The status of biomass has shifted in our industrialized society where fossil resources have facilitated an exponential increase in technology and welfare. Nowadays, biomass is seen as a sustainable alternative to fossil resources. In order to satisfy consumers' needs and industry demand and to tackle climate change, EU and individu­al countries have adopted bioeconomy strategies which might significantly increase the demand for biomass. Read more about this session here.

Session 2: Innovative climate change mitigation strategies for the forest-based sector

Climate change is a consequence of increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases, CO2 being the most important. Climate change mitigation strategies to reduce atmospheric CO2 aim to increase carbon sequestration and reduce carbon emissions. Common strategies from the forestry sector to increase carbon sequestration include the optimization of sustainable forest management practices, the reduction of deforestation, and accelerated reforestation and afforestation. Strategies to reduce carbon emissions range from reducing fossil fuels consumption in the wood production chain by technological or organizational improvements, to an enhanced use of wood products with associated substitution effects, for example in the construction sector. Read more about this session here.

Session 3: Assessing sustainability in forestry, agriculture and related bioenergy systems

The needs of a growing world population and changing societal demands have increased the pressures on forests and agricultural systems. Intensified forest management practices and increasing agricultural productivity have raised concerns about the maintenance of biodiversity and the future provisioning of various ecosystem services. At the same time, climate change itself is impacting on agricultural and forestry systems, and adaptation strategies may be in conflict with other emerging policies aimed at strengthening a bio-based economy. Read more about this session here.

Session 4: Optimal forest operations for a sustainable biomass supply

Global demand for forest products follows a steady upward trend due to its climate change mitigation benefits and continuing population growth. Harvested biomass might substitute fossil fuels and high energy requiring materials like steel or concrete. Many European countries consider bioenergy and wood products to be key components in their climate change mitigation strategies. In October 2014, EU leaders agreed to a more ambitious 2030 climate energy policy and the European Council endorsed a binding target of at least 27% renewable energy consumption in 2030. Read more about this session here.

Session 5: Environmental challenges for the bioeconomy

Forest products play an important role for the realization of the bioeconomy concept as they are renewable, recyclable and their use potentials are not yet fully exploited. However, there is a growing conflict between intensifying wood production and harvest volumes and maintaining biodiversity and ecosystem services. Similar concerns relate to agricultural production as a source of material input to the bioeconomy. With a growing human population, there is competition for land for wood, food or energy production, especially in developing countries, affecting both nature and society. Read more about this session here.

Session 6: Economic and social challenges for the bioeconomy

The rise of an increasingly integrated biomass-based industry that spans forestry, agriculture, the chemical and energy sectors has ramifications at the levels of socio-economic structures, cultures and practices, affecting European forestry and farming sectors, land use and landscapes. It is unclear how the EU’s technology and industry-focused vision of the bioeconomy will be integrated in business concepts, and how social innovation in multi-stakeholder practices, agro-ecological concepts and ecosystem service provisioning will be affected. Read more about this session here.

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