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Abstract

Forests are the dominant land cover in Nordic–Baltic countries, and forestry, the management of forests for improved ecosystem-service (ES) delivery, is an important contributor to sustainability. Forests and forestry support multiple United Nations Sustainability Goals (UN SDGs) and a number of EU policies, and can address conflicting environmental goals. Forests provide multiple ecosystem services and natural solutions, including wood and fibre production, food, clear and clean water and air, animal and plant habitats, soil formation, aesthetics, and cultural and social services. Carbon sequestered by growing trees is a key factor in the envisaged transition from a fossil-based to a biobased economy. Here, we highlight the possibilities of forest-based solutions to mitigate current and emerging societal challenges. We discuss forestry effects on forest ecosystems, focusing on the optimisation of ES delivery and the fulfilment of UN SDGs while counteracting unwanted effects. In particular, we highlight the trilemma of (i) increasing wood production to substitute raw fossil materials, (ii) increasing forest carbon storage capacity, and (iii) improving forest biodiversity and other ES delivery.

To document

Abstract

Scenarios describe plausible and internally consistent views of the future. They can be used by scientists, policymakers and entrepreneurs to explore the challenges of global environmental change given an appropriate level of spatial and sectoral detail and systematic development. We followed a nine-step protocol to extend and enrich a set of global scenarios – the Shared Socio-economic Pathways (SSPs) – providing regional and sectoral detail for European agriculture and food systems using a one-to-one nesting participatory approach. The resulting five Eur-Agri-SSPs are titled (1) Agriculture on sustainable paths, (2) Agriculture on established paths, (3) Agriculture on separated paths, (4) Agriculture on unequal paths, and (5) Agriculture on high-tech paths. They describe alternative plausible qualitative evolutions of multiple drivers of particular importance and high uncertainty for European agriculture and food systems. The added value of the protocol-based storyline development process lies in the conceptual and methodological transparency and rigor; the stakeholder driven selection of the storyline elements; and consistency checks within and between the storylines. Compared to the global SSPs, the five Eur-Agri-SSPs provide rich thematic and regional details and are thus a solid basis for integrated assessments of agriculture and food systems and their response to future socio-economic and environmental changes.

Abstract

The forests in Nordic countries have been a source of food, products and welfare for both local communities and for the nations as long as there has been any settlement. More recently, the way the forest supports the climate has become more pronounced. However, humans now face major challenges due to climate change as well as societal and environmental challenges. Fundamental changes are needed to ensure future prosperity in the face of growing resource depletion, climate changes and environmental degradation. What has become clear is that fossil dependence must be overcome and be replaced with bio-based materials and innovations to support the more efficient use of resources — thus, creating a more bioeconomy-based society. This report describes the role of the forest in bioeconomy transformation and green innovation in the northern part of Europe — Finland, Norway and Sweden — and highlights the challenges facing forests in this emerging bioeconomy. These countries are also part of the Barents area, thus the northern part of Finland, Norway, Sweden and Russia. In summary, the report discusses several common features and lessons learned from these countries: • Forests are crucial for the development of sustainable bioeconomy in the Nordic countries in substituting fossil fuel-based materials and energy. Forest biomass has a large potential for developing new bio-based products. • Bioeconomy and circular economy transformation depend on both technical and social innovations together with societies adapting to a bio-based sustainable future, which emphasises the ecologic, economic, and social functions of forests. In policymaking and forest management, synergies need to be realised and trade-offs evaluated and addressed in forest management in general. • Bioeconomy transformation is driven by the development of forest value chains and innovations based on forest biomass, in which research and development go hand in hand with investments and policy regulations. • Consumers are a main driver of bioeconomy transformation replacing the demand of fossil-based materials with bio-based. • Choices, both in policy and forest management, have to be made to support the continuous provision of all forest ecosystem services. • The contributions of forest to bioeconomy are regional, national, as well as cross-country (e.g. Baltic, Barents or Nordic), and international (e.g. EU) and the forest’s contribution to bioeconomy has to be considered in relation to properties of the forest, sustainability, innovations, knowledge development, green investment structures as well as national policies.