Why BIOECONOMY?

Bioeconomy is Europe’s response to key environmental challenges the world is facing already today. It is meant to reduce the dependence on natural resources, transform manufacturing, promote sustainable production of renewable resources from land, fisheries and aquaculture and their conversion into food, feed, fibre, bio-based products and bio-energy, while growing new jobs and industries.” (European Commission)

Wow….this all sounds too good to be true. Recently I became increasingly interested in the BIOECONOMY discussion both at the European and International level. I am particularly interested in what this new “buzz word” means for the future of sustainable forest management, which I will  mainly scrutinize from a sociopolitical perspective. Note that the forest sector is not even mentioned in the EC’s definition above? Odd, especially considering that forests are supposed to be one of the main sources for biomass, and certainly much more than that…right?

So…Who’s in it and why? and What’s in it for us? Basically, I want to find out more about the stakeholders involved in the Bioeconomy. By “us” I mean citizens, the research community and the broader group of “forest stakeholders”.

This blog is my “research diary” where I try to document my research progress, and share thoughts and ideas on Bioeconomy as I learn and discover more about it. As I travel to other countries around the World, I will share different (international) perspectives on the Bioeconomy. I’ll also host some guest blogs from brilliant researchers working on this topic.  Thus, the content will come both from my own research project, but also from different experiences and ideas related to this broader Bioeconomy topic.

I do this firstly  for helping me structure and organize my thoughts a bit…writing is therapy. Secondly,I do it to engage colleagues from the natural and social sciences research community and hopefully start interesting discussions on the topic…we all have a stake in this and need to get more engaged in this debate.

BIOECONOMY is quite an ambiguous term, a complex topic that is developing fast in different directions. Keeping track of all the developments will require to take a step back and look at the big picture. I will not pick sides, thus I am neither pro nor against bioeconomy. I understand it’s value, and see the benefits of shifting away from a fossil-dependent, unsustainable society. We need to change the way we live, and fast! On the other hand, I also understand  that such broad concepts risk being hijacked  by groups seeking to legitimize their own agendas. Nevertheless, I will try to maintain a critical and unbiased view on the development of bioeconomy.

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