Bioeconomy 4.0: Can a forest manage itself?

Digital approaches for a societal debate on the Bioeconomy 4.0

Ein verwildertes Waldgebiet.
© inter 3 GmbH

The increasing importance of the bioeconomy

Due to the shift to sustainable industrial production and energy supply, the bio-based economy is increasing worldwide. Forestry plays a key role within the bioeconomy: the use of wood has doubled over the last 20 years. Although individual economic-ecological questions play a recurring role in the political debate, there is currently no relevant public discussion on the future issues of a wood-based bioeconomy.

From an art project... 

The research project aims at the development of a social debate on the future design of bioeconomy, starting from the art project "terra0" - the idea of a self-managing and self-administering forest.An algorithm decides on forest management and forest administration. By creating the futuristic vision of a digital, self-sufficient forest management and administration and the involvement of the public in its design, a broad, stimulating and also controversial discourse should be initiated. Innovative participatory processes make it a responsibility of the public to outline the requirements for this technology. a public discourse 

A digital platform, participatory ForestLabs in the real forest and a multi-criteria analysis will be used to shape the interactive development of a resource-efficient and sustainable circular economy.

The project partners (FZI Research Center Computer Science, Wuppertal Institute, inter 3, Zebralog and Design Research Lab) combine their expertise in the fields of bioeconomy, participation research and implementation, business informatics, innovation management, design and communication. They are supported by an advisory board of renowned scientists and practitioners.

inter 3 provides multicriteria analysis and PR

inter 3 will be responsible for the multicriteria analysis as well as public relations and science communication. The multi-criteria analysis will show the diverse social, economic and ecological consequences of alternative forest management concepts in general and for target groups (e.g. nature lovers versus producers / consumers of wood furniture). As part of the public relations work, a concept for a broad public perception of the project and a concept for efficient result communication is developed and implemented. The aim is to spark public interest in the project and the topics of bioeconomy and forest management, and to initiate a broad discourse.

The project will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) as part of the "National Research Strategy BioEconomy 2030" and supervised by the project management agency Forschungszentrum Jülich from 2017 to 2020.

How can a forest manage itself? Digital approaches for a public discourse on bioeconomy 4.0


Helke Wendt-Schwarzburg, +49(0)30 34 34 74 46

Dr. Susanne Schön, +49(0)30 34 34 74 52


Federal Ministry of Education and Research


Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (FZI) (Project management / coordination), Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie gGmbH, Zebralog GmbH & Co KG, Universität der Künste Berlin, Design Research Lab (DRLab)




2017 - 2020