The era of fossil fuels is coming to an end, leaving humanity having to increasingly draw on renewable resources. In a bio-based future, forests are expected to supply a significant share of raw materials despite being already exhausted by global demand for timber, for fuel and for paper. If wood is now, in addition, going to be used as the base material for bio-economy in order to develop completely new materials, there is no way forests will be able to handle this rising demand.
Forest ecosystems are not only a wood supplier, they are also a home for forest people, a recreational space and habitat of major significance for environmental protection and biodiversity. Forests’ role in climate protection means that they cannot also supply the industry with raw materials, sustaining the current rate of consumption.
The only way the bio-economy will be able to keep its lofty promises is by using resources more sparingly. This is what development and environmental organisations are asking for. The required transformation will only be successful if fossil fuels are not simply substituted by biofuels.
You can read a more detailed analysis of the implications of biofuels development in this blog written by EPN International Steering committee member Peter Gerhardt.