||Europe’s forest-based sector faces major challenges. Globalisation, changing trade relationships, as well as shifts in demography, lifestyles and consumption patterns have led to changing demands for forest products and services. Many of these developments challenge sustainable development.
Through current debates about issues such as climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, competitiveness and people’s wellbeing, European forest and forestry issues have once again moved up on the political agenda. Europe’s increasing forest resource, for example, supplies a forest products industry which is a global technology leader and which provides employment to millions of Europeans. Forest biomass can contribute to meeting the European Union’s goals for more renewable energy.
On the other hand, the supply of raw material to paper, woodworking and other industries needs to be secured. Europe’s forests also provide a wide range of essential ecosystem services, such as securing our drinking water, helping to mitigate climate change and providing settings for recreation and tourism.
Stakeholders in the European forest-based sector have one important thing in common, namely forests as a resource base The sector is unique in providing a wide range of products and services in an environmentally-friendly way. Its raw material is grown in a biodiversity-rich, natural environment.
The forest-based sector is an example to other sectors when it comes to sustainable production processes. However, its character of being land based and at the same time embodying a high-tech industry makes it a very complex sector. It requires a careful balancing act between economic, social and environmental sustainability.