More than 350 delegates from 27 countries attended a two-day forest-based sector forum in Stockholm to discuss the “innovative and sustainable use of forest resources”.

The organisers said that forest-based sector research is moving into exciting times, with predictions that it will be a key contributor to a sustainable European society by 2030.

To realise these predictions, relevant stakeholders in the forest-based sector have joined forces under the umbrella of an industry-driven Technology Platform (TP) and have been working to produce a strategic research agenda.

Janez Potocnik, EU commissioner for science and research, said he hoped the agenda would provide answers to some of the challenges faced in today’s global world. He added that he believed forestry related research could contribute to improving European competitiveness while preserving and improving the quality of life for all Europe’s citizens.

Björn Hägglund, chairman of the forest-based sector’s TP high level group, said future success lies in the development of innovative products and services.

He added: “If the forest-based industry were invented now, it would be the breakthrough of the 21st century, using sun energy, water and carbon dioxide for the production of millions of tons of useful products for communication, packaging, hygiene, construction and energy.”

He said potential research-based innovations could include enhancing sustainability through the development of a new breed of “green chemicals” from wood, the development of climate change resistant trees and wood materials being used to stabilise indoor climates.