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Mission and aims

SCAR FOREST (Strategic Working Group on Forests and Forestry Research and Innovation)



Context and rationale

Forests and forest-based products and services are major components of the biosphere and of societal wellbeing. Globally, they make a significant contribution to local and national economies, to rural development and to individual livelihoods.

In Europe, forests and other wooded land are expanding and cover over 40 % of the EU’s land area, providing a great diversity of ecosystems and habitats for animals and plants across regions, and playing a major role in mitigating climate change and other environmental services.

Wood is the main source of financial revenue from forests, and forest biomass is currently the most important source of renewable energy.

Though their socio-economic importance is often underestimated, they are becoming increasingly important for the supply of raw material to emerging bio-based industries and for transition towards low-carbon economies. In the context of continuous environmental, societal and policy changes, their adaptation and the continued delivery of forest-based services and products in a sustainable and efficient way, requires increased research, innovation and knowledge from many disciplines.

Scope and objectives

SCAR FOREST mission is to be a source of advice on European forest-based research and innovation (R&I), thus contributing to the development of a coherent and ambitious forest-based research area. Under current mandate (2016-2019), the main objective is to promote and strengthen transnational research and cooperation to meet the challenges of adaptation to and mitigation of climate changes, and of increasing sustainability and competitiveness of the EU's forest-based sector, by sustainably providing biomass and products for a growing bio-based economy, and other ecosystem services for societal wellbeing. Specific objectives of SCAR FOREST include:

  • promote forest-based systems and value-chain approaches with due considerations of synergies and interrelations with other sectors;
  • provide strategic intelligence by mapping national forest R&I capacities, policies, strategies;
  • engage in knowledge-based input to public debates on forest-related EU policy areas and global issues (climate change, water, bioenergy, biodiversity, plant health, trade, etc.);
  • advise on R&I support to the implementation of national forestry policies and the EU Forest Strategy.