Several difficult challenges are facing the human system within the next decades. These include the new global structures of the economy, food security, and environmental degradation in the developing countries and climate change. Stabilization of the atmospheric CO2 concentration on acceptable levels implies drastic cuts in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. For this, revolutionary changes in the material use as well as the energy supply and use systems are required. One of the potential ways to mitigate these threats is the increasing utilization of biomass for multiple purposes in the economic system. Finland has vast forest resources and an established forest industry. New challenges through increased demand for bioenergy and bioeconomy mean increased competition for forest resources. Decisions on alternative forest use options have to be made under complex and uncertain conditions.
The aim of this project is to assess different options for sustainable use of forest resources in the long run, taking into account the pre-conditions set by other societal challenges. The question is approached through two different perspectives: environmental sustainability of forests vs. economic sustainability. Management of both economic and climatic impacts of forests are slow processes, whose dynamics must definitely be considered in their analysis. Overall exploratory models containing modules for the economic and environmental aspects of sustainable forest resource use, and the linkages between them will be developed. The project provides new comprehensive approaches and knowledge on which solutions for the use of wood resources are environmentally and economically sustainable in multiple conditions. In addition, it produces information on which factors affect the choice of the most suitable use within different conditions, and what are the critical factors affecting the choice. Such knowledge is crucial while steering the bioeconomy towards solutions that are both environmentally and economically sustainable. Funded by the Academy of Finland