Forests can be seen as a source of wood raw material and bioenergy, a recreational area with health benefits, a carbon sink, and a source of biodiversity. This report examines how different shifts in perceptions and in the wider forest sector environment affect forest sector production, wood use, and the development of workforce skills needs.
The forward-looking analysis is based on a projection up to 2026 and scenario work up to 2040. Combined with today’s views on changes in forest ownership and management practices, technological developments and policy measures already agreed and planned, the foresight work creates a broad vision of the future of the forest sector.
Although the outlook for the forest-based industries is relatively stable for the coming years, significant changes are foreseen by 2040. Changes in forestry will be driven by changes in forest management practices and forest ownership, climate and biodiversity targets for land use, and changes in the risk of natural disturbances due to climate change.
In production, development paths depend more strongly on how society, and hence demand for final products, evolves. Value added in the forest industry can increase, in particular if the by-products of production can be diverted from energy production to high value-added products. This development will be limited by the energy needs of the production processes themselves, which will have to be met by other means if the energy from the by-products is abandoned in significant quantities.