Renewable wood-based products can help combat climate change and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, according to a new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
The report Forest Products in the global bioeconomy: Enabling substitution by wood-based products and contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals has compiled the most recent knowledge on the role of forest products in the global bioeconomy. It explores the role of forests in providing green solutions that can aid the global effort for achieving Net Zero future.
The report has indicated that bioeconomy is the key to controlling the global temperature rise and combating climate change. It said that substituting fossil sources to produce energy, food, feed, fibre and other manufactured goods with wood as a bio-based material can contribute towards achieving the SDGs.
In a statement at the World Bioeconomy Forum in Belem (Brazil), FAO’s Advisory Committee on Sustainable Forest-based Industries said, “Forest-based industries make an essential contribution to Net Zero emission targets, to which many businesses have committed in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change.”
What is Bioeconomy?
Bioeconomy has emerged as a concept for tackling challenges such as the over consumption of an overreliance on non-renewable natural resources. Forests and the forest sector are important components of a bioeconomy.
The FAO report has noted that China, New Zealand, Turkey, the United States of America and the European Union have a dedicated bioeconomy strategy or action plan. Whereas, countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Australia and the Russian Federation do not have a dedicated bioeconomy strategy, the report showed.
The federal bioeconomy strategic objectives included a strengthening of research and development, fast-forwarding innovations from the laboratory to market roll-out, reducing regulatory barriers, development of a bio-economy workforce and the fostering of partnerships. The focus of these objectives vary from innovation and biotechnology to improving productivity or efficiency of biological resources and bioenergy.
Key Findings of the Report
The report has revealed that engineered wood products and wood-based textile fibres are two emerging forest product categories that can provide renewable and sustainable solutions to the global crisis. It said that the production and consumption of engineered wood products are rising, mainly due to increased application in wood-frame multi-storey construction. Lyocell fibres are modern wood-based textile fibres that have properties like viscose and polyester but are more environmentally friendly in production.
The report has noted in conclusion that developing awareness as well as addressing knowledge and implementation gaps in the global forest product value chain is crucial in ensuring the sustainability of a circular forest-based bioeconomy.