SEEWoodNetwork

The role of renewable and sustainable raw materials in the circular economy and, more generally, in decarbonization, re-actualized wood and wood residues for both material and energy uses.
Wood value chains are therefore expected to play a more central role in the European industrial base, while also contributing to strengthening rural development and territorial management. Indeed, sustainable wood supply and processing (including re-use, upcycling and, finally, energy generation) have positive implications in the water-food-energy nexus as well.

Forestry and wood industry traditionally play an important role in the economies of most countries of South East Europe (SEE), with significant potential for further expansion owing to relatively low harvesting ratio and limited outreach to global markets for local wood value chains.

The area in which the project will concentrate most of its activities (AT, CZ, SK, SI, HR, RS, RO + IT, HU, BH, AL, XK, MN, GR, MD, BG)  totals approx. 30 % of the European forest area (155 million ha[1]), with annual wood increment of about 217.8 million m³, while annual harvest is limited to only 12.7 million m³ [2]. Supporting sustainable exploitation of these potentials will have positive impacts for all European countries.

Lack of innovation and limited cooperation between policymakers and market actors are generally identified as major non-technical barriers deterring investors. This partially owes to the long-lasting heritage of planned economy and collectivism that is still perceptible in the forestry sector, determining a delay in development of adequate policies and innovative practices.

SEEWoodNetwork project proposal brings together wood sector stakeholders from SEE (Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Romania) and neighbouring countries that are commonly recognized as forerunners in forestry and wood industry (Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia) with the aim to strengthen peer-to-peer cooperation and know-how exchange in sustainable forest management and wood mobilization, thus contributing to improving the sustainable supply of wood and wood residues for material and energy use in the region. With given limits, the project will also contribute to EU enlargement by facilitating alignment to EU standards in Candidate and Potential Candidate Countries (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Albania).

More specifically, the proposed set of activities entail multiple positive implications: in the short term, the project will enhance  practitioners’ capacities and access to markets by means of know-how exchange, sector monitoring and networking; in the medium term, activities implemented in the framework of SEEWoodNetwork will contribute to generating a positive business climate and enabling policy environment; in the long term, a resilient and innovative wood value chain will entail benefits in terms of economic growth, job creation and environment protection. Through extended networking activities and dissemination, the Consortium will explore synergies with actors especially from the Danube Region (EUSDR), the Adriatic Ionian Region (EUSAIR) and the Alpine Region (EUSALP), as well as with forerunners in the forestry sector from other EU countries.  The SEEWoodNetwork builds on on-going European Projects like SIMWOOD and complements it geographically towards the south-east.

The project will capitalize on existing initiatives and collaborations, proactively approaching national, regional and EU level actors (e.g. project partner SFI is member of  focus group No. 20 “Wood biomass mobilisation” at EIP-Agri and will contribute to build synergies; collaboration with Forest Europe, UNECE, etc.). Moreover, the project involves several clusters and networks as project partners (Croatian Wood Cluster HDK, Styrian Timber Cluster HCS, AEA being inter alia project coordinator of the Concerted Action on the Implementation of the Renewable Energy Directive “CA-RES” since 2013 and the “Energy Partnerships in CEE-Countries” since 1990). In addition, seven project partners are also members of the European National Forest Inventory Network – ENFIN. The participation of INCE will facilitate extended networking and the outreach to other networks and initiatives at macro-regional and EU level.

SEEWoodNetwork will implement know-how exchange and training activities, as well as extensive stakeholder dialogue on the topics of SFM and SMW. Network building foresee both face-to-face meeting, thematic workshops and regional conference, as well as extensive communication that will be channelled mostly through the tailor-made web platform (commitment to maintain it at least 2 years beyond the project duration.

In order to support the network with appropriate materials , the project will build a catalogue of good practice examples (GPE) in sustainable forest management and sustainable mobilization of wood, encompassing as many segments of the wood value chain as possible.The GPE will build on expertise of the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe (MCPFE), EC DG Agriculture and Rural Development, the European Commission/Forest Europe/UNECE/FAO ‘Good practice guidance on sustainable mobilisation of wood in Europe’ , as well as past and ongoing EU projects and relevant projects and scientific literature.

Moreover, market/business opportunities for wood and innovative wood products and practices will be identified and assessed in a profound market analysis (incl. business-talks with entrepreneurs) matching forest potentials and market trends. Results will be discussed with policy makers and market actors in order to give concrete recommendations how to replicate good practices and business opportunities at different levels. Suggested policy measures will enable policy makers to review and adapt the existing framework conditions for stimulating RDI investments measures for attracting investments in the value-added wood production chain in SEE and ESIF and EAFRD funds on national level.

Finally, the project will develop  target oriented national policy support action roadmaps to improve the sustainability of wood supply chains for Austria, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania and to foster business development in the whole region. Project results will initiate annual conferences and disseminate the project results among relevant players at SEE, European and pan-European level.

 

Work Plan

The work plan includes 8 work packages. Objectives are to implement a durable network of key stakeholder and provide the network policy support in SFM, SMW, and developing of markets.

WP1 will ensure the efficient execution of all work packages and tasks including in the work plan within the limitation in time and budget according to the related Grant Agreement and the rules and requirements of the European Commission. The project coordinator ensures that the consortium partners are aware of their responsibilities and reporting duties and is in regular contact with each partner in order to ensure the timely completion of tasks and to provide any support necessary. Based on crisis management schemes, the coordinator will solve difficulties or potential problems in close collaboration with the EC.

WP2 will ensure networking of the stakeholders with common interests in improved and sustainable wood supply as raw material for material and energy use. They will be involved in a dialog process through tailor-made web platform, thematic workshops, info days and conferences with an aim to share and discuss experiences and good enabling policies and practices along the wood supply chain.

WP3 activities will aim at linking SEEWoodNetwork with other sectorial networks and cross-sector initiatives implemented at the level of macro-regions (EUSDR primarily, but also EUSAIR and EUSALP) and/or in a pan-European dimension. Such extended networking, that will capitalize on project partners' relations but also grow beyond them, will allow enriching the GPE with examples and knowledge from outside the project target area, while highlighting the potentials of the wood sector in SEE. The overall objective of WP3 is to facilitate co-ordination among forestry and wood industry stakeholders from the project area and beyond in order to jointly contribute to relevant decision making processes (including the alignment to EU standards of non-EU countries as a contribution to the accession process).

WP4 will identify, evaluate and document Good Practice Examples (GPE) along wood supply chains in SEE and prepare them for target group capacity building activities. WP4 will create the basis (Gap-Analysis) for trainings, workshops, recommendations to policy makers in WP5-7 and activate bottom-up contributions by stakeholder engagement in WP2.

WP5 will focus on the identification of Good Practice Examples (GPEs) for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and Sustainable Mobilisation of Wood (SMW). This comprises the entire span from the assessment of the current status of wood resources and forest management activities in the partner countries to the evaluation of the wood supply chains. Sound and reliable information provided by the National Forest Inventories (NFIs) will form the basis for the derivation of main trends and changes of forest resources. A realistic mobilisation potential will be deducted by applying different types of restrictions to the theoretical wood and biomass potentials that have been assessed previously. For all these approaches GPEs will be established according to the methodologies in WP4.

WP6 focus on identification of market/business opportunities in SEE and innovative products and practices. In correlation with tailor-made know-how established in WP4, existing representative and relevant good practice examples (GPEs) will be documented and discussed whether they are suitable to develop further the region of the respective partner country or are relevant for national markets. A market analyses matching forest potentials and market trends will be made. Promotion activities (toward consumers) and improving awareness (toward stakeholder, policy makers) for increasing market demand and use of wood products will be developed. The results of these discussions will be fed into the international WP2 and WP3 stakeholder dialogue.

WP7 will provide guidance on tailor made policy support actions (national roadmaps) for each partner country. Documentation on good practice policy examples, potential gaps and practical capacity building in order to mitigate these gaps and as well as key findings of the stakeholder participation process (outputs of WP 2-6) will be disseminated to key stakeholders and decision makers in a respective, concise form. The outcomes will be disseminated via WP2 and WP3 events and WP8.

WP8 coordinates dissemination of results and the communication among all players at SEE, pan –SEE and pan-European level and will ensure that the project findings and results reach every single relevant stakeholder, helping thus realization of the overall project goals. The main tool for this will be the adequately designed web based platform, but also information materials, participation and presentations at national and international events, media and press work, as well as the annual conferences which will be initiated within the project and envisaged to stay a highly important and relevant dissemination tool beyond the project.

 

Contact

Mr. Herbert Tretter
T. +43 (0)1 586 15 24-135

herbert.tretter(at)energyagency.at


Please find further information about the concortium <media 2647 - - "TEXT, Concortium See Wood Network, Concortium_SeeWoodNetwork.pdf, 409 KB">here</media>.

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[1] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-13-806_en.htm

[2] Source: mixture of sources mainly based on the National Forest Inventories data and national forest management plans which are public available, Austrian Research Centre for Forests (Bundesforschungszentrum für Wald, BFW) (2017)

Project Dates
Project ManagerDI Herbert Tretter - Austrian Energy Agency
Project PartnerAustrian Energy Agency (AEA)
Federal Research and Training Centre for Forests, Natural Hazards and Landscape (BFW)
Slovenian forestry institute (SFI)
International Centre for Sustainable Development of Energy, Water and Environment Systems (SDEWES Centre)
Iniziativa Centro Europea – Segretariato Esecutivo (INCE)
Hrvatski drvni klaster (HDK)
Holzcluster Steiermark GmbH (HCS)
University of Belgrade, Faculty of Forestry (UNIBG-FoF)
Ustav pro hospodarskou upravu lesu Brandys nad Labem (ÚHÚL)
National Forest Centre (NFC)
Institutul National de Cercetare-Dezvoltare in Silvicultura Marin Dracea (INCDS)
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