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Forests under Pressure: Why the Bioeconomy Threatens our Ecosystems

By Peter Gerhardt The era of fossil fuels is coming to an end, leaving humanity having to increasingly draw on renewable resources. In this context, the bioeconomy has become established as the term for an economy fed by biogenic resources. This puts pressure on our forests, as wood is expected to play a significant role in supplying the resources for a bio-based future despite already being exhausted by global demand for timber as a fuel, a construction material, for power generation or pulp. Our planet’s natural limits are frequently at the centre of political debates these days: Climate change has moved millions of people around the globe. Brazil’s burning rainforests are no longer a matter of national but of worldwide importance, given the effect on the global climate. Even the biodiversity loss has reached the mainstream: Petitions like “Save the bees” are mobilising millions of supporters.  At the same time, a large share of the population is guided by liberal market forces – to the point that the economy governs all areas of life. And …