TransForm project coordinators meet to discuss the agenda’s ambitions and challenges

The coordinators of the 28 projects included in transForm, together with the leaders of the six work packages (WP)/pillars on which the Agenda is organised, met on 1 February in Leirosa, Figueira da Foz, in a workshop organised by CoLAB ForestWISE and Altri Florestal. This workshop aimed to strengthen collaboration and synergies between the participants of each WP, create a common understanding about the projects of each WP and their main results, and structure a clear message about the ambition and challenges of each WP, with the ultimate goal of promoting collaborative strategies in the implementation and execution of the Agenda.

During the workshop, the leaders of each WP led working sessions in which the project coordinators identified the relationship and synergies between the various project outputs and discussed individual and transversal challenges to achieve the Agenda’s ambitions.

Regarding WP1, which includes nine very diversified projects within the scope of Resilient Forest Management, synergies were highlighted both between the results of the projects with a greater RTD nature and between the projects more focused on generating information to support decision-making. As an example, a strong relationship was identified and, consequently, the existence of possible synergies between the network of permanent plots that will be generated in one of the projects and the digital platform of best practices for the recovery of oak ecosystems to be generated in another project. The main ambitions identified in WP1 were the generation of data and decision support services, the contribution to good forest management practices and the forest sector access information improvement. With regard to the challenges of this WP, the project coordinators have highlighted aspects such as the existence of multiple platforms and their eventual compatibility and interoperability, the difficulty in updating and validating data, the lack of availability of information, the adoption of practices, processes and activities, among others.

In WP2, which integrates seven projects dedicated to Green Operations and Logistics, dominated by operations optimisation, processes digitalisation and automation and electric motorisation, several synergies were highlighted between project results. As an example, a strong link was identified between the electric forestry machines and equipment to be developed, with the need to ensure a good electric charging network, as well as good road access.

In the WP dedicated to Circular Economy (WP3), with six projects, synergies between some of the projects were highlighted: the group found a strong link between the formulation of blends and new fertilizers, the increased efficiency of fertilizers and the reduction of greenhouse gases. In turn, it was also highlighted that the use of new fertilisers is related to the possibility of using biofertilizers. Regarding the ambitions, the obtention of (bio)fertilisers from industrial by-products, new eco-efficient industrial processes and new industrial processes based on circular economy practices were flagged, with technological maturity being a common denominator in terms of challenges.

Finally, in the Markets and Consumers WP (WP4), which integrates five projects related to the valorisation of non-wood forest products, ecosystem services, forest products marketing support, new products and applications of wood for sustainable construction and eco-packaging, potential synergies were also discussed.  For example, questions were identified regarding a proposed remuneration instrument for ecosystem services and the need for an assessment and valuation standard. The existence of a digital platform to support trade in forest products is closely related to the development of a brand that is recognised and a reference by its target audience. As for the ambitions of this WP, the group highlighted innovation in the production, distribution and sale of non-timber forest products, an aspect which will bring challenges such as the valorisation of environmental benefits, the competitiveness of the final product, compared for example with plastic-based products, and the medium/long-term benefits of innovation.

This workshop was the first of many to encourage greater collaboration between partners and promote the success of the transForm Agenda projects.