Ir izziņoti 1. SUMFOREST uzsaukuma darbības virzieni!!!

Scope for the 1st joint call of

Sustainable forests for society of the future

SumforestThis Sumforest ERA-NET Call focuses on basic and applied research regarding multifunctional forestry and as such may also cover consortia addressing research issues spanning over the whole value chain from forest management to product and service development.  Proposals are expected to be transnational and the consortia needs to have members from at least three different partner countries that are funding the call. 

The call covers the research topics listed below which have been prepared by funding agencies/organizations involved in the ERA-NET Sumforest, in collaboration with representatives from two other ERA-NETs, Foresterra and WoodWisdom-Net.   At least one of the topics shall be addressed but proposals covering more than one topic are also welcome.  Topic descriptions include focus areas which should be primarily addressed by submitted proposals.  However, the proposals may include additional issues within a given topic. 

Innovative forms of cooperation are encouraged, i.e. interdisciplinary research and implementation that stretches across disciplinary boundaries of the forest-related sciences and results to meaningful cooperation between biophysical/natural and social scientists.  Additionally, involvement of a variety of stakeholders representing also different geographic areas will enable proper exchange of multiple academic backgrounds. Consortia may also elaborate on how they connect to research communities outside Europe.

The call should also contribute to the overall objectives of the ERA-NET.  It is supposed to stimulate the mobility of researchers and practitioners between the countries and intensify researcher training, thereby increasing the quality of European research and its implementation.

Topic 1. 

Comparative assessment of the sustainability performance   between renewable and non-renewable raw material-based  value chains

Problem statement:  Objective and holistic comparative analyses of the various sustainability characteristics related to renewable vs. non-renewable raw material based value chains are missing.

Bioeconomy refers to an economy that relies on renewable natural resources to produce food, energy, products and services.  Unfortunately, this overall preference towards renewable options is not at all obvious when it comes to various public policies or communication in the marketplace.  In fact, e.g. the forest biomass-based products are facing even unfair competition from fossil and mineral-based alternatives as the origin and sustainability of the latter is not equally scrutinized.

Forest-, agriculture- or aquaculture-based biomasses may be able to offer sustainable solutions to a huge number of products and services through substitution of fossil and mineral-based alternatives.  For example, in packaging or building applications, in textiles or in media applications, even in transportation the different biomass-based products can replace the non-renewable options.  

The increasing awareness of the importance of sustainable solutions to mitigate climate change has contributed to a plethora of sustainability- related schemes and claims in the market place.  Practically every industry and service sector offers their own approach to assess sustainability of their respective value chains.  There is a growing confusion in the market place regarding the credibility of these statements.

The aim of the research is to provide objective and neutral analysis between the sustainability performances of biomass-based vs. fossil/mineral-based value chains.  This would allow both consumers as well as policy makers to make fact-based choices.  The role of carbon in these assessments needs to be fully understood, including the respective sequestration and substitution effects as well as the contribution to circular economy.

  • The work should review various multidisciplinary methodologies for sustainability assessments.
  • If appropriate, new assessment methodologies and sustainability criteria should be offered.
  • Results from case-studies regarding comparisons should be presented.
  • The analysis should bring novel information to the existing knowledge and be justified by gap analysis.
  • Possibility to utilize existing data sources is an asset.
  • The proposal should also include an approach to - and practical implementation of - the enhancement of the science-policy-practice interface related to this topic.

Topic 2. 

Risk resilient forest management - defining forest management regimes which effectively incorporate risk assessments related to climate change  

Problem statement:  The probability of natural, social and economic hazards caused by climate change - or related factors - is increasing. How should the management regimes be developed to guarantee the forest resiliency at regional, local and stand levels?

Changing climate will alter the basis for the existing forest management regimes. Relationships between the different elements of the ecosystem - soil, water, flora and fauna - will all be impacted by changing temperatures, precipitation patterns and hazardous biotic and abiotic events. Climate change will increase the risks for disturbances in provisioning of both ecological and socio-economic products and services from the forests.

  • The research should come up with new ways to define climate resilient management regimes applicable for different types of forest functions and environments.
  • Special attention should be paid to risk analysis methods and strategies to avoid negative consequences of certain risks caused by changes in climate or in the socio-economic environment.
  • The research can apply foresight analysis to predict the potential impacts of climate change on the ecological and socio-economic services of the forest sector.
  • The proposal should also include an approach to - and practical implementation of - the enhancement of the science-policy-practice interface related to this topic.

Topic 3.

Appraisals and trade-offs related to forest ecosystem services

Problem statement: Comprehensive value assessments related to forest ecosystem services are missing. As a consequence, the trade-offs between often conflicting demands on the various ecosystem services are not properly analyzed and understood in policy and other decision making processes.

Forests are offering a multitude of benefits for the society.  Some of these benefits - or ecosystem services - may be conflicting, while some others can be synergetic.   For example, the intensification of biomass production can have negative impacts on some recreational values, e.g. scenic qualities.  However, the opposite may also happen, e.g.  intensive biomass production through development of forest road network may allow better hunting possibilities which contribute to improved recreational values.

In order to make sound decisions, the values of the different ecosystem services need to be assessed.  This value assessment needs to be done in a manner that assures the comparability of the results. Trade-offs between economic, ecological and social ecosystem services and products need to be presented in a form that allows the decision-makers at all levels to conceptualize the implications of the various choices.  Better understanding of synergies and trade-offs between different ecosystem services will help to develop coherent and well-founded policies.

  • The research should include appraisals of existing methods to assess trade-offs between various forest ecosystem functions.
  • Development on decision support methods applicable for assessing various aspects of multifunctional forestry.
  • Results of case studies using the method developed in this project.
  • The proposal should also include an approach to - and practical implementation of - the enhancement of the science-policy-practice interface related to this topic.