StarTree is an ambitious and exciting project that will show how Multi-Purpose Trees (MPT) and Non Wood Forest Products (NWFP) can be used to strengthen and diversify economic activities in rural areas.
StarTree is based on an integrated approach, identifying challenges and proposing solutions to enhance the management, product development, innovation, multi-stakeholder dialogue and marketing of MPT and NWFP.
StarTree brings together key research organisations and specialised SMEs working on MPT and NWFP throughout Europe to ensure and speed up the transfer of research and innovations to markets.
StarTree is funded by the European Union through the European Commission's FP7 Cooperation Work Programme.
StarTree aims to provide better understanding, knowledge, guidance and tools to support stakeholders in optimising the management of multi-purpose trees and developing innovative approaches for increasing the marketability and profitability of NWFP for a more competitive rural economy.
StarTree will achieve this by:
- Developing new knowledge and tools to optimise the sustainable and joint provision of wood, NWFP and related services as well as the management of multi-purpose trees in a climate change context
- Advancing the understanding on the socio-economic importance and the potentials of markets for NWFP, including the role of public and private actors in supporting the innovation processes for new products and services based on consumers´ behaviours and patterns
- Establishing solid strategic partnerships between key research organizations and specialised small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working on NWFP in Europe to ensure and speed up the transfer of research and innovations to markets
An integrated approach:
StarTree engages regional stakeholders to inform the research and development of new tools and knowledge on NWFP and MPT, the results of which will be disseminated widely. To achieve this, the project is composed of seven work packages (WPs).
Case study coordination and stakeholder consultation
WP leader: Wild Resources Limited Objectives: With respect to the overall objective of the project to provide a holistic analysis of the European NWFP sector and its potential to support rural development for the benefit of SMEs, forest managers and policy makers, the aim of WP 1 is:
- the generation of a consistent and coherent dataset to facilitate inter-regional comparisons and the synthesis of findings across Europe and
- the integration of theory and praxis which requires close cooperation and understanding between academic and relevant stakeholders
WP leader: Technical University of Lisbon Objectives: The overall objective of this WP is to develop silvicultural guidelines, models and decision support tools to enhance the profitability of MPT and NWFPs management by combining wood and NWFP and will be achieved by pursuing the following goals:
- review how MPT and NWFP are currently considered in forest management and what management guidelines, models and decision support tools are available
- provide decision support tools including optimization capabilities and analyse the economics and management of MPT and NWFP
- develop new silvicultural guidelines to increase the profitability of the management of MPT and NWFPs in regional case study areas
Economy and marketing of NWFP
WP leader: University of Padua Objectives: The main objective of WP 3 is to provide knowledge about the current structure and dynamics of NWFP market as well as about the potential development at different scales, by describing:
• production patterns and trade development paths for different NWFP
• existing and potential marketing strategies and related regulatory issues affecting NWFP economy
• impacts on rural development in terms of added value, employment creation, distributional effects, integration processes, financial constraints, transaction costs, risk and uncertainty for the selected case studies
Economy and Marketing of NWFP
WP leader: Forest Sciences Centre of Catalonia Objectives: The overall aim of this WP is to understand the role of institutions (policies, regulations, policy instruments and informal norms) in the provision and consumption of NWFP. Specific objectives are:
- to understand how such institutions shape the production and consumption of NWFPs, and clarify underlying causes and reasons for that
- to understand whether and how such institutions can be changed and what is the role of public and private sectors in institutional change that promotes the diversification of forest activities and fosters the competitiveness of the NWFP sector in Europe
Innovation systems and processes
WP leader: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna Objectives: The WPs´ overall aim is to get a better understanding of the innovation processes in the management of MPT and in the production of NWFP s, the roles of actors in the innovation systems, and to develop practical guidelines and tools for innovation support. The specific aims are:
- assess innovation systems and innovation processes relevant for the development and marketing of new forest products on European, national, regional, and enterprise levels
- collect innovative examples for new forest products across Europe
- develop innovation strategies for new forest products for different types of companies and for relevant institutional actors
Dissemination and Exploitation
WP leader: European Forest Institute Objectives: The aims of this WP are:
- to identify target users and their requirements and expectations towards improved decision support in MPT and NWFP
- to synthesize new knowledge gained in the project and to tailor dissemination activities towards different needs and scales: science, policy, business as well as case studies, regions, countries
- to provide a portal facilitating knowledge exchange, information services, social learning, and regionalised business interactions
Project Coordination and Management
WP leader: European Forest Institute Objectives: The main objective of WP 7 is to assure efficient administrative coordination and management of the entire project. This goal will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
- monitor progress and control quality of the project along the work plan and its milestones and deliverables
- enable effective information flow, communication and proper decision-making within the project consortium
- oversee the contractual links between partners
- ensure the reports are sent to the EC, according to the terms of reference of the project
- manage risks and resolve potential problems
The forest-based sector in Europe delivers a wide variety of products and services, providing income for about 16 million forest owners, and creating around 4 million jobs, many of them in rural areas. Yet traditionally forest industries have focussed on wood-based products: wood has a significant relative economic importance and there are well structured and competitive value chains based on its raw materials (wood products, pulp and paper, bio-energy). This means that the full potential of non-wood forest products (NWFP) remains untapped and opportunities for developing sustainable rural economies have not been fully exploited. Due to lack of information, capacities and knowledge at different stages of the NWFP value chain, realising the full potential of NWFP and multi-purpose trees is often prevented.
To ensure a sustainable and optimal provision of relevant forest products and services, forest management requires tools to quantify the joint production of wood and NWFP and the impacts of forest management and environmental conditions in their provision as well as trade-offs between them. Considerable improvements in all segments along the NWFP value chain are needed.
The StarTree project considers the different aspects of the NWFP value chain and provides tools and solutions to fill in the missing links.
Non Wood Forest Products (NWFP) are defined as “products of biological origin other than wood derived from forests, other wooded land and trees outside forests”. Forest fruits, mushrooms, pine kernels, acorns, medicinal herbs, essential oils, chestnuts: there are more than 150 non-wood forest products of importance in international trade, according to the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment report.
Multi-purpose trees (MPT) means that the same tree is managed and used for more than only one purpose. For example, chestnut trees can be used for production of wood, tannins and chestnut fruits while cork oak trees can produce acorns, can be harvested for cork and finally produce fuel wood.
Stakeholders in StarTree are groups or individuals that are expected to be affected by the project’s activities and whose actions can have an impact on the realisation of project objectives. In StarTree they are forest owners, resource managers, SMEs, decision makers, potential users, local and sectoral public authorities, regional development agencies, innovation support structures and rural communities. There are 14 Regional Stakeholder Groups who receive updates and reports on project developments and who participate in meetings and events related to project activities in their region.
Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) is a term recognised throughout the world. What makes up an SME, however, varies from country to country.
In EU law, the main factors determining whether a company is an SME are the number of employees and either turnover or balance sheet total. In Europe, there are three broad parameters which define SMEs:
- micro-entities are companies with up to 10 employees
- Small companies employ up to 50 workers
- Medium-sized enterprises have up to 250 employees
However, the company’s turnover or balance sheet total must also be taken into account in order to confirm the definition.