Forests and Forest Products for a Greener Future
The strong scientific consensus on the need for more forests and trees, mainly for environmental reasons, especially to mitigate climate change, is broadly recognized by policy makers. It has led to numerous political commitments. As part of the Green Economy discourse there is also a growing political support for bio-energy and for substituting non-renewable, energy intensive, materials by wood products (and other comparable products like bamboo and rattan) that are both renewable and stock carbon. However, results on the ground are more mixed. One of the reasons being that economic development is a main driver of deforestation, and that the amounts of public money to be committed for forest conservation and forest restoration do not compare to short time economic benefits of alternative activities. One illustration of this is the recent debate on the potential for tree planting (Lewis et al. and rebuttals) between a biophysical approach and those recalling economic realities.
This leads to the following questions, that the presentation will aim to articulate and address: How can more wood products be the way to more -rather than less- trees and forests? And which wood products and from which forests, given the social, environmental and economic performance of the associated production and transformation systems? Which “wood value webs” to prioritize and to optimize, given multiple objectives, differing characteristics of diverse silviculture/ plantation/ forest management types and their related objectives, as well as other development constraints, such as land-use, the time to grow wood and to develop the industrial infrastructure? And how will it work, especially considering that forest economies are very different in developed and developing countries? What would be the economic, trade and markets, financial, institutional, regulatory and legal conditions for it to happen?