1.3 Policies and and good governance


Policy frameworks influence stakeholder decisions concerning the forest-based sector. At the same time good forest-sector governance can greatly contribute to the success of European policy objectives. Meanwhile, policy decisions targeting other sectors often have unexpected effects on the forest-based sector and its capacity to contribute to societal objectives. A better overview and understanding of European and national policies and laws directly or indirectly affecting various links of the sector, as well as prices and consumer behaviour, will help individual forest-based value chains and the overall sector to align their strategies.

State of the Art 2012

Good governance of the sector is taking place within the interdependent triangle of state (laws and policies), markets (supply and demand, prices – see RIA 1.1), and society (as collective interest groups and individuals – see RIA 1.2). The policy framework affecting the forest-based sector is highly complex, resulting from diverse and changing societal perceptions and demands. It includes national and European directives, actions and targets such as LULUCF, Natura 2000, the Strategic Energy Technologies (SET) Plan, National Renewable Energy Targets, watershed management, recycling and waste directives, and building regulations, to name but a few. Several policies have partly conflicting or even competing objectives; some are supportive, some detrimental to the development of the forest-based sector. National standards and regulations, often designed for non-wood materials and products, are sometimes not up to date with current technologies, especially in the woodworking sector. The degree of effectiveness and congruency varies across Europe. Adequate approaches to increased sustainable raw material supply from small-scale private forest owners remains a challenge.

Expected achievements by 2020

Stakeholders of the forest-based sector, especially decision makers, have a better understanding of the sector’s setting in the complex international policy environment. The sector is able to furnish evidence of potential negative effects of certain policies. In 2020 the sector is able to develop cross-cutting and congruent strategies to advise policymakers within and outside the sector, to inform decision-making processes with a short- and long-term perspective. Policymakers, on the other hand, have a better and more complete understanding of the forest-based sector and its contribution to European and national policy objectives.

Required Research and Innovation Activities 

A. Develop effective assessment and communication tools to inform political decision-makers about evaluation of forest ecosystem services compared to other land uses (See also RIA 2.2).
B. Analyse and monitor changes in forest ownership and their implications for forest management, new opportunities and markets.
C. Develop incentives for small-scale private forest owners to actively manage forests for wood production and other new services.
D. Improve understanding of trade-offs between policies supporting primary wood-based energy production and those supporting the material use of wood in the woodworking and construction industries, pulp and paper industry, biochemical and biomaterial industry.
E. Devise a more cost-effective EU and national policy framework for climate change mitigation by propagating the means of sustainable forest management, increased use of wood as well as wood-based products for systematic cascading.
F. Develop impact assessment tools for policies affecting the forest-based sector, especially those addressing changes in land use, energy production and energy saving. Also, with regard to recycling and cascading use of biomass.
G. Assess and communicate the prerequisites and means to increased building with wood and living with wood all over Europe.
H. Assess and address the direct and indirect effects of policy approaches, political incentives, development of sector relevant standards and regulations, market developments (see RIA 1.1), and changing societal perceptions and demands (see RIA 1.2) on the forest-based sector.