More than 30 experts from Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine were involved in a series of meetings to share experiences, best practices, innovations and opportunities for the future development of the sector in these four countries last September and November 2020. The discussion focused mainly on digital solutions and knowledge transfer to connect multiple actors along the forest value chain to strengthen the sustainability of wood mobilisation in Europe. Through the ROSEWOOD4.0 network, this exercise of exchange of ideas and knowledge in Eastern and Central Europe has been made possible.
The sessions organised in the Rosewood4.0 Central-East European Hub have been coordinated by our partners from the National Forest Center (Slovakia), PRO WOOD Regional Wood Cluster (Romania), NGO FORZA (Ukraine) and Łukasiewicz Research Network – Wood Technology Institute ITD (Poland). In these workshops the main objectives were to validate the SWOT analysis of this European forest region, paying special attention to common weaknesses as well as to identify solutions in terms of best practices, innovations and experiences. Also, another main focus of these meetings was to identify best practices and innovations from each country (Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Ukraine) with the aim of establishing a discussion and reflection on how to implement some practices from one country to another.
In early September, the experts validated 14 pre-selected best practices as matching regional needs. The presented practices are good examples that confirm the ongoing progress in Central and Eastern Europe in terms of digitisation in the forestry sector. Some good practices were assessed as particularly important and interesting, among them Forest Databank (Poland), ATBIOMAP (Slovakia), Forest Patrol (Romania) and REMBIOFOR (Poland).
From Ukraine’s point of view, also best practices related to pest management are of great interest. The experts found that there are many potential complementarities between the practices of other countries, and they are willing to work together on specific issues such as effective law enforcement, related to the issue of illegal logging, but also to better connect the forest supply with the timber industries.
During the sessions, experts from Ukraine and Poland pointed out the need to think of forest-based industries as one forest sector, as both forestry and wood processing industries face similar challenges. Finally, it is also worth noting the experts’ shared feeling that there is currently a growing gap between environmental science and forest management practices, which are perceived as outdated and not modernised, preventing forestry from being perceived as an important element of the economy, society and environmental management.