Natural capital and bioeconomy: challenges and opportunities for forestry


Over the last decades, the stock of natural capital has been globally reduced by human-induced effects such as climate change, and land use and cover modifications. In particular, the continuous flow of goods and services from ecosystems to people is currently under threat if the current human activities still remain unsustainable. The recent bioeconomy strategy is an important opportunity to halt the loss of biodiversity and the reduction of services provision, from global to local scale. In this framework, forest sector plays a fundamental role in further enhancing the sustainable development and the green growth in degraded environments, such as marginal and rural areas. This paper provides an overview of the bioeconomy-based natural resources management (with a focus on forest ecosystems), by analyzing the related challenges and opportunities, from international to national perspective, as in Italy. At first, the role of forest sector in addressing the purposes of green growth is analyzed. Secondly, the most suitable tools to monitor and assess natural capital changes are described. Finally, the most important research contributions within the bioeconomy context are reported. To create the suitable conditions for bioeconomy and green growth, the following insights have to be denoted: (i) a deeper understanding of natural capital and related changes; (ii) the improvement of public participation in decision-making processes, especially at landscape scale; (iii) the effective integration of ecological, socio-cultural, and economic dimensions while managing natural resources.


Natural capital; bioeconomy; forest ecosystems; ecosystem services; land use and cover change.

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