Stakeholder meeting, September 2013

Trees for the Future: contributing to the green bio-economy

24 September, 2013
Nancy, France

This Trees4Future meeting provided an opportunity for discussions amongst a broad spectrum of stakeholders on European research needs in contributing to green bio-economy, and especially the role of genetics and genomics. These are issues of strategic importance for the forest-based sector, and the outcomes of the meeting will help to steer the activities of the Trees4Future project to allow the project to better meet the needs of different stakeholders. The meeting was open to all interested stakeholders.

News item: Bridging the gap between knowledge and innovation


Three sessions focused on

  • The European RTDI agendas for the green bio-economy
  • From research to business – how new tools and innovations can create added value
  • Trees contributing to the green bio-economy

Download the agenda


Full list of speaker presentations

Luc Pâques from INRA, Coordinator of the Trees4Future project explained the project’s aims in the current context of forest and forestry research. He pointed out that innovation and multidisciplinarity are vital.

Johan Elvnert, Manager of FTP spoke about the RTDI agenda of the forest-based sector, and the work carried out by the Forest Technology Platform with the whole wood value chain. “Collaboration, research and innovation are needed to create a better future”, he said.

François Lefèvre from INRA Avignon presented a view of how genetics and genomics RTDI can contribute to the needs of the forest-based sector. He pointed out that we have lots of new tools and information, but that we don’t use them efficiently – we need innovation in strategies to integrate these new tools in decision and management processes. He gave examples of what genetics and geonomics RTDI can do (eg extend the genetic management capacity from a limited number of model species to any forest tree species), and what it will not do (simplify biological complexity or eliminate uncertainty – for example a simple drought resistant gene does not exist).

Luc Pâques spoke about the benefits of NIRS (Near Infra-Red Spectometry) for phenotyping, a method of chemical analysis which can be used on wood to show wood properties as well as chemical composition. The technique is useful for traits which are difficult, time consuming and expensive to measure by traditional techniques.

Duncan Ray from Forest Research UK demonstrated Trees4Future’s new climate matching tool , which will be developed as a web application for the Trees4Future website. The tool will promote information, knowledge and a societal understanding of changes in the suitability of tree species and provenance across Europe. For any given site, the tool shows where climates are similar today, and what might happen to your site in future under different climate models.

Mariella Marzano from Forest Research UK asked how do we bridge the gap between knowledge and innovation. She focused on the challenges facing the Trees4Future project, and how to find the synergies between its huge range of stakeholders, all with different attitudes, values and interests.

Kimmo Järvinen, from the European Organisation of the Sawmill Industry (EOS), gave the perspective from the woodworking industry. He used examples of innovations using wood-based products, and particularly focused on the need for RTDI and standardisation to support the use of wood construction products, and the need for efficiency.

Elspeth McRae from SCION spoke about prosperity from trees and the bio-based economy. She looked at challenges now and in the future, and asked what could be done to counteract fibre shortages and a loss in forest planting – for example increased plantation forests, genomic selection and new mutagenesis technologies.

Andreas Kleinschmit von Lengefeld, from the Technology Institute FCBA in France concluded the meeting, pointing out that it was an excellent starting point for involving all the different stakeholder groups within Trees4Future activities (for example research communities, forest managers and society). "The current global controversial debate in relation to genetics and genomics RTDI has to be rational and science-based", he said. "A clear identification and understanding of the different stakeholders and actors within society and their needs will help to overcome a debate that is today disfavouring excellent scientific work as it is not driven by a deep understanding of the subject."

Further information

The meeting was held in connection with the 20th anniversary of the European Forest Institute - Our forests in the 21st century – ready for risks and opportunities? (23-27 September 2013).

If you have questions about this meeting, please contact the meeting coordinators:

Andreas Kleinschmit von Lengefeld ;
Jo van Brusselen

Photo: Christophe Maitre