Pioneering research to promote sustainable forestry
The demand for wood products and services is increasing worldwide due to economic and climate policy driving forces. It is therefore imperative for experts in forestry research to develop a common framework which could facilitate interactions between different areas of expertise and the exchange of scientific knowledge.
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In this context, the European Union (EU)-funded project Trees4Future seeks to improve forestry research communities and provide access to key forestry facilities across Europe. The project brings together extensive resources on trees and forestry from various European countries to create an accessible research facility, removing barriers between scientific disciplines and between science and industry.
According to project contact Angela Baker, “Trees4Future project provides the European forestry community and wider research community with easy access to currently scattered sources of information and expertise in order to optimise the short and long-term exploitation of forest resources.” The project team helps increase awareness and promote the efficient use of existing research efforts, data and technologies, while making new research techniques available to a wider group of potential users.
Furthermore, the Trees4Future scientists are working closely with industry users to ensure that research meets their needs. The project’s partners are broadening the scope of access to relevant databases and biological resources such as trees, seed, pollen, DNA and wood samples. In order to support the forestry research community, the Trees4Future team is also opening up opportunities for transnational access to several research facilities, designed for various activities including genetics and the assessment of wood quality.
So far the project has yielded significant results. Its researchers have improved forest resources traceability and assessment of tree traits, and strengthened forestry networks by providing access to forestry-related infrastructures.
Trees4Future holds great value for European citizens. “In order to respond to the increasing demand for wood in a sustainable manner, we need to alter the supply of raw wood material from the forests”, points out Baker. In support of reaching this goal, “the Trees4Future project provides access to key research facilities in Europe for forestry research, making it possible to develop the innovative approaches required for a sustainable forestry, both in research and industry”, she adds.
In order to face the increasingly changing demands on Europe’s forests, collaboration between the various disciplines is key to success. “Forestry problems as well as solutions are global and by benefiting from the best resources such as infrastructures, expertise and skills, available in various European countries, pan-European forestry research can progress in an unprecedented way to be able to face current and future challenges”, concludes Baker.