Horizon 2020 is the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever with nearly €80 billion of funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to the private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market. It aims to make profitable the plantation of traditional hardwoods in Europe.
The challenge is being competitive in an economic activity characterized for its long term investment return. The way to do it is the improvement of genetics for a fastest growing of European hardwoods.
The work involves field experiments in operational environment. Those experiences will give feedback to the genetic modification of hardwoods.
To add value to wood production and enable close-to-market outputs, proposals should aim to develop a series of cutting edge technologies in relation to forestry measures starting from seedling/replanting, through to harvesting. Activities should aim directly at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. For this purpose they may include prototyping, testing, demonstrating, piloting, large-scale product validation and market replication. SMEs active in the forest-based sector are specifically encouraged to participate in consortia.
Increasing societal demands and emerging policies relating to forest resources present new challenges for the sector and trigger the need to enhance the multi-functional role of forests in the EU. The quantity and the quality of wood yields depend on site conditions, forest management objectives, silvicultural regime and measures taken from the establishment of forest stands to the end of rotation (for even-aged forests) or the selection harvest (for uneven-aged forests). Managing forests’ horizontal and vertical structure is crucially important given the long production cycles involved and the demand to adapt, within the production cycle, to the evolving framework of environmental and societal conditions. It is therefore desirable to develop intelligent (i.e. cost-efficient, productive and environment-friendly) and novel solutions and tools to support sustainable wood production from forests managed on a multifunctional basis.
With a view to enhancing the multifunctional role of forests, proposals should show how some, or all, of the following impacts will be achieved: