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Harnessing the digital revolution in the forest-based sector

The improved use of information flows and intelligent digital solutions that are increasingly available in forest monitoring, management and forestry operations, could help to significantly improve and unlock the efficiency of wood supply chain activities. Modern digital applications also provide promising possibilities to improve forest managers’ decision making in a precious and complex forest environment and to improve ecosystem monitoring.

This topic addresses innovations in information systems for forest managers, forest-based industries and policy makers as well as advances in precision forestry, harvesting systems and forest nursery operation, optimised harvest planning, operations management, timber transport and logistics, as well as safety, ergonomics and smart assistance for human workers. The synergetic use of geo-spatial, statistical, and modelling technologies together with information and communication technologies such as aerial and satellite retrievals, (in particular from the Copernicus programme) and the ‘web of things’ combined with big-data analytics is highly encouraged.

The aim is to harness the potential of ICT and new technologies to improve the sustainability of forest management and logging operations with a view to sharing data throughout the wood value chain, thereby driving greater sustainability, to offer new business models along the value chain and to improve the traceability of forest resources for optimised and transparent supply chains. The integration in the new technologies of climate change impacts on these wood chains should be an essential component. Activities may also include robust and transparent methods and tools for high resolution forest and ecosystems services assessments, natural disturbance risk monitoring and analysis (including pests and forest fires) and disaster response systems.

Besides activities such as prototyping, testing, demonstrating and piloting in a near to operational environment, proposals may include limited research activities. Assessing and deepening the understanding of economic, social and environmental impacts through an enhanced application of digital technologies for foresters, small and medium-sized enterpirses (SMEs) and industries, as well as end-consumers will be of special interest, including the assessment of risks and opportunities for jobs in forestry, the wider forest-based sector and rural communities.

Proposals must implement the 'multi-actor approach’ and ensure adequate involvement of the primary sector and the wider forest-based value chain. Cooperation with other selected projects under this topic and other relevant projects is strongly encouraged.

In this topic the integration of the gender dimension (sex and gender analysis) in research and innovation content is not a mandatory requirement.