Resource efficiency is at the core of the multi-purpose use of forest biomass, as the most important product which generates income is high-value timber. Yet, resource allocation is not a static issue as price changes and
technological progress may open up new and more efficient uses of raw materials. Moreover, the increase in the availability of forest resources in Europe currently surpasses their use, resulting in about two thirds of the annual increment being harvested. Profitability and innovation in forestry have an important role to play in providing wood and other ecosystem services.
The signing organizations welcome the efforts made by the European Commission with their proposal of a non-binding guidance on the cascading use of biomass to improve understanding and share knowledge of best practices with regards to resource efficiency in the bio-based value chains as long as it is well taken into account that:
• Any attempt at any level to introduce a hierarchy in the use of products and by-products would create
negative unintended consequences such as market distortions and innovation bottlenecks. These may
result in sub-optimal value cycles and would be detrimental to some forestry sub-sectors;
• The diversity of forests and their management in Europe should be recognized, because national and
regional circumstances vary greatly in terms of forest resources, industry capacity and development,
wood markets and energy systems;
• In order to draw the highest possible values from forests, the full range of uses of biomass should be
The introduction of restrictions on the use of biomass will jeopardize the role of the forest sector in the bioeconomy. Therefore, in order to boost a successful transition to a circular bioeconomy, the approach to resource efficiency in the forest-based sector should be bottom-up, market-based and well-grounded in innovation and knowledge exchange.
The forestry sector can catalyze the development of a European-wide bioeconomy in line with the principles of the circular economy. However, this will be possible only if all principles of sustainable forest management are equally recognized and its correlated competitiveness is supported by the EU’s forest-related policies and initiatives.
CEPF – Confederation of European Forest Owners
COPA & COGECA – European Farmers and European Agri-cooperatives
EOS – European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry
EUSTAFOR – European State Forest Association
UEF – Union of European Foresters
USSE – Union of Foresters of Southern Europe