Growing potential? (Parliament Magazine, 10 June 2013)

12 June 2013

The bioeconomy can help the EU to meet its renewable energy targets, but the role to be played by Europe’s forests is under scrutiny.
Kayleigh Lewis reports.

Containing 155 million hectares of forests and 21 million hectares of other wooded land, the European Union is currently home to five per cent of the world’s forests. More than 42 per cent of the EU’s land area is made up of forests or wooded areas, and such a big resource is hard to ignore as Europe seeks to find an alternative to a petroleum fuelled society.

The commission believes that the bioeconomy, that is an economy which is based around the smart use of biological and renewable resources, can help Europe to become more resource efficient. It also believes that more reliance on renewable biological resources can help to meet consumer and industry demands while, at the same time, tackling climate change. However, the commission’s forestry strategy, currently under review and expected to be adopted this year, highlights some of the challenges currently facing the EU’s forests. These include the increase in demand for forestry biomass, a result of Europe-wide renewable energy policies.