European Forest Institute News

European Forest Institute News
  1.  /files/images/press_releases/signing_7dec2017_crop.jpg : 137Kb

    EFI Director Marc Palahí with the Ambassador of Germany, H.E. Mr Detlef Lingemann

    On 7 December 2017, a signing ceremony was held in Helsinki at the German embassy, to formally establish an EFI office in Germany.

    EFI’s office is located in Bonn, and has been active since spring 2017. EFI Bonn coordinates one of the European Forest Institute’s main initiatives: the Resilience Programme. It focuses on forest-related resilience issues, including the integration of biodiversity in sustainable forest management, climate change adaptation and mitigation, forest-related risks, payments for ecosystem services and the role of forests and trees in climate-smart cities. The programme emphasizes work on the science-policy-society interface at a European scale, strengthening EFI’s policy support role.

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    EFI Director, Marc Palahí
    Head of Mission EFI Bonn, Georg Winkel


    Photo: German embassy, Press office

  2. Bioeconomy Investment Summit logoExperts from across the globe will be assembled in Helsinki on Thursday for the 2017 Bioeconomy Investment Summit.

    The event gathers together over 500 policymakers, investors, scientists, journalists and industry from 40 countries to share their views on how we can bring together the economy and the environment.

    New advances in technology mean that everything that can be made out of oil can be made from renewable, biological resources. There are huge environmental and business opportunities for a wide range of industries: construction, chemicals, textiles, energy, plastics. The bioeconomy gives us a unique opportunity for building a sustainable future.

    Marc Palahí, Director of the European Forest Institute said: “The summit discusses the investments and policies which we need to transform emerging bioeconomy technologies and businesses into the mainstream future economic reality. We are looking forward to hearing innovative contributions from our speakers tackling different angles of the challenge.”

    Speakers include Alexander Stubb, Vice President of the European Investment Bank, Marcus Wallenberg, Chair of Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB), Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of carbon recycling company, LanzaTech, Mathieu Flamini, former footballer and partner and co-founder of GFBiochemicals, and Joanna Dupont-Inglis, chair of the EU Bioeconomy Panel.

    The event will also feature a walking exhibition showing how everyday objects can have bio-based ingredients. On show will be bio-based products from more than a dozen companies.

    The event will be streamed live:

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    Media enquiries: Anne Autio ( Tel: +358 10 773 4337

    Event website:

    Event app: can be found from the Google Play Store or App Store by searching for BIOECO2017. You can also use the application from your web browser by going to

    Social media: #bioeco2017

    The 2017 Bioeconomy Investment Summit is organised by the European Forest Institute, City of Joensuu, Regional Council of North Karelia, Natural Resources Institute Finland and the European Commission.

    The European Forest Institute is an independent, science-based international organisation that provides the best forest science knowledge and information for better informed policy making. EFI provides support for decision-takers, policy makers and institutions, bringing together cross-boundary scientific knowledge and expertise to strengthen science-policy dialogue.

  3. The European Forest Institute has collaborated with European broadcaster Euronews on a ground-breaking 360-degree video on wildfires in Portugal.

    Euronews' special envoy to Portugal, Joanna Gill, travelled the parts of the country which suffered during the blazes throughout the Summer and Autumn. In 2017, wildfires in Portugal burnt up to 520,000 hectares of forest. This represents 60% of Europe's total, for a country that represents just over 2% of its landmass. The wildfires, now recognised as the worst natural disaster this year in Europe, have killed more than 100 people in four months.

    Available on Euronews’ digital platforms, the immersive experience allows the audience to witness first-hand the devastation, meet the communities affected and hear from first responders and experts.

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    Thomas Seymat, VR & immersive journalism editor, Euronews said: “The fires in Portugal have been one of the major European stories in 2017, affecting thousands, and forcing us to look at the potential impacts of climate change on our continent. We wanted to take our audience on the ground to help understand the situation better.”

    Joining forces with Euronews is part of EFI's new science-media initiative, The Lookout Station which aims to connect journalism and science communities around the topic of climate change. The story on Portugal is the very first effort of the initiative, which will involve a number of media houses and provide scientific expertise to support digital storytelling on climate change. The pilot for the initiative, Lookout360° Climate Change Immersive Story Initiative, was recently launched.

    EFI’s Director, Marc Palahí said: At EFI we take a scientific look at the root causes behind the fires. The effects of global warming, together with the expansion of unmanaged forest land due to depopulation of rural areas, create the perfect storm for catastrophic forest fires. The focus must be shifted from fire suppression to prevention and forest management that enhances the resilience of forests to global change. Developing a sustainable forest bioeconomy is crucial for such transformation.”


  4. The European Forest Institute announced today the Lookout Station, a new science-media initiative that builds bridges between journalism and science communities around the theme of climate change. As part of this, the Climate Change Immersive Story Accelerator, a new 6-month media support programme was launched.

    EFI and the Global Editors Network, the largest editors network with a community of 1300 Editors-in-Chief and media professionals, are joining forces on the very first edition of the Climate Change Immersive Story Accelerator, called  Lookout360° that focuses on 360-degree video storytelling.

    Lookout360° invites 10 journalists and producers from 10 media houses to participate in a science-media bootcamp in Lapland to get training on climate change and 360 video storytelling. This is followed by a 3-month mentorship period where journalists get an opportunity to connect with experts in order to develop, iterate and publish a 360-degree video story within a short period. The final outcomes will be showcased at the GEN Summit in Lisbon on 30 May – 1 June 2018, which will be attended by 750+ editors-in-chief and high executives from the media industry from all over the world.

    Throughout the programme, EFI will not only support the group with its scientific knowledge and expertise, but also facilitate the collaboration between media and science communities from different backgrounds. For more information about Lookout360°, visit or contact Rina Tsubaki (


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  5. Esko AhoHow we mainstream the implementation of the circular bioeconomy strategy was the focus of a ThinkForest seminar which took place in Brussels on 7 November.

    Next year is a turning point, with the expected updating of the EU Bioeconomy Strategy and Action Plan giving an opportunity to set a new level of ambition and focus on how the circular bioeconomy can create a sustainable, renewable society. Speakers were agreed that the bioeconomy is inevitable. How the circular bioeconomy can move from aspiration to realisation is the next priority.

    John Bell, Director for Bioeconomy at DG Research and Innovation said there would be a mainstreaming of the development of the bioeconomy over the next year, and its embedding in other policies. “Bioeconomy can reach parts of society and economy that other policies can’t reach”, he said.

    Former Prime Minister of Finland and EFI Strategic Advisor, Esko Aho, analysed what we can learn from previous radical innovations in Europe, for example mobile phone development. We need to create the ecosystem, he said. It’s not about individual efforts, but about how Europe develops the right concept, technologies and policies for the new context that the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement imposes. Circular bioeconomy is necessary for this new global context. 

    EFI’s Assistant Director Lauri Hetemäki presented a new way of describing circular bioeconomy and discussed the priorities it needs to have. He introduced the recommendations from the latest EFI From Science to Policy study, ‘Leading the way to a European circular bioeconomy strategy’. Chief among these was public engagement. The creation of a circular bioeconomy narrative, particularly for urban populations, is vital, and politicians play a crucial role in this.

    Hanna Kosonen
Urban populations and cities were the focus of the seminar’s panel discussions. Circular bioeconomy is the perfect tool to connect urban and rural areas to sustainable cities and communities. EFI’s Director Marc Palahí emphasised the importance of the circular bioeconomy for inclusive growth, and the forest-based sector’s ability to distribute wealth and jobs far more extensively in society than fossil-based resources. Finnish Member of Parliament and EFI Board Member Hanna Kosonen pointed out that cities were ideal for experimenting with new ideas and innovations, for example public procurement policies. Cities and regions could be the forerunners for the circular bioeconomy process. Yet, it was noted by many panellists that it was important to adapt plans to regional requirements. Common challenges included ensuring competitiveness, scaling new innovative bioeconomy products to commercial scale, and investing in R&D and new skills. The importance of communication to wider society was again emphasised.

    The afternoon session focused on the role which forests play in a European circular bioeconomy. Georg Winkel, Head of EFI’s Resilience Programme presented key conclusions from a forthcoming What Science Can Tell Us study on the European forest bioeconomy. People are at the heart of a forest-based bioeconomy, he emphasised, with a growing group of urbanised forest owners providing a big opportunity to align consumer demands with producer interests. Sustainability is a key factor in engaging the population in the wider bioeconomy narrative.

    The ThinkForest seminar, Looking ahead to a circular European bioeconomy’ was held at the International Press Centre in Brussels on 7 November.

    From Science to Policy 5: Leading the way to a European circular bioeconomy strategy was published by the European Forest Institute on 31 October. Download the full study or the executive summary.

    Further information: Lauri Hetemäki, Assistant Director, European Forest Institute, e-mail: lauri.hetemaki @ or phone: +358 (0)10 773 4316



    Photos: Simon Pugh Photography

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