Website shows the benefits of the forest with many examples

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INNOwood: A project of the cantons of Central Switzerland. Lignum Holzwirtschaft
INNOwood: A project of the cantons of Central Switzerland. Lignum Holzwirtschaft Zentralschweiz. Roberto Conciatori | HSLU, CCTP. BIMwood, 2022 Jara Malevez

The forest is more than just a collection of trees. This is impressively demonstrated by the website developed in Central Switzerland. It went live on the International Day of Forests on March 21.

The forest is a multifunctional talent. It provides clean air, protects the road and rail network from landslides and avalanches and its wood stores a lot of carbon when used in buildings. But the forest has to be maintained and the resulting wood put to good use. Schwyz cantonal forester Theo Weber explains why it is important for biodiversity that responsible foresters ensure sustainable forest management: ’A forest that is not used tends to grow very uniformly and in a single layer, especially at medium and low altitudes. This means that it is impoverished in terms of species. Biodiversity, however, requires a rich mosaic of different life forms.’ Forests also have an impact on the climate: ’Wooden buildings store carbon in the long term. At the same time, by using wood in the forest, we create space for regrowing trees, which in turn absorb CO2 from the air. A perfect cycle,’ explains the Obwalden cantonal chief forester Roland Christen.

Examples make connections visible

The connections between the necessary care of the forest and the use of wood are complex and not always easy to understand. is now intended to make these recognizable by means of numerous, vividly presented examples. It shows how builders, politicians and customers who opt for a building, furniture or other product made from local wood can help to ensure that the diverse services provided by the forest on their own doorstep continue. ’In order to make a decision at the end of the value chain, you need to understand the connections between the forest, its services and the use of wood,’ says Michiel Fehr, Head of Forest Utilization at the Agriculture and Forestry Service, Canton of Lucerne. The website gives builders an insight into the positive effects of using wood from the local forest.

A Central Switzerland project is the result of the INNOwood project launched in 2021, in which all cantonal forestry offices in Central Switzerland, Lignum Zentralschweiz and WaldSchweiz have come together under the coordination of Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. Six showcase projects from Central Switzerland, their history from forest to finished building, embedded in exciting background information and enriched with voices from the forestry and timber industry in over forty short videos offer a varied experience. ’Our aim was to enable visitors to the website to experience the fascinating connections between the care of the forest and the sustainable use of its wood through concrete examples from the region,’ says Sonja Geier, Deputy Head of the Competence Center Typology & Planning in Architecture at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

One of the flagship projects is the Berglodge37 on the Eggbergen in Uri. The three buildings of the seminar center impress with their harmonious integration into the surrounding mountain landscape and their craftsmanship. The decision to use wood from the neighboring Gruonwald forest deserves special mention. ’The Gruonwald forest has played an important role in protecting the Gotthard railroad line since the end of the 19th century,’ says Roland Wüthrich from the Office for Forestry and Hunting. Thanks to the use of the wood, the Gruonwald now has more light for the growth of young and strong trees. This protective forest can thus continue to reduce the risk of flooding and landslides for the safety of Switzerland’s most important north-south rail link.

GoLive in a flagship project

The pioneers of the new website came together at the Berglodge37 for the GoLive. Roland Wüthrich, Director of the Office for Forestry and Hunting in the Canton of Uri, welcomed representatives from the Federal Office for the Environment, WaldSchweiz, Lignum Zentralschweiz, the cantonal foresters of Central Switzerland and the project team from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. The Director of Security of the Canton of Uri, Dimitri Moretti, emphasized the social importance of forests and wood. Claire-Lise Suter Thalmann, Managing Director of the Swiss Forest and Wood Research Promotion Agency, drew a link to this year’s International Day of Forests with the message ’Forests and innovation - protecting forests and using them sustainably instead of destroying them’. The attendees were then given an insight into the content of the project work. Sabine Witt explained the role of the forest experts as mediators and the demands of the population for co-design. Sonja Geier traced the arc from the INNOwood project to the digital experience platform Afterwards, Pascal Wacker eagerly awaited the live launch and introduced the functions and levels of the new website. The event concluded with a tour of Uri’s flagship project, the Berglodge37. Host Martin Reichle showed the guests how he used regional wood and circular thinking to create a harmonious place with a breathtaking view over Lake Uri.

The new website was developed with a view to improving understanding of the links between forest management and wood use and the services provided to the population. ’This platform will help to support forest owners, foresters and regional companies in the forest & wood value chain in their important work,’ says Paolo Camin from SwissForest. The showcase projects in Central Switzerland are representative of the diverse added value that the multifunctional forest offers. Added values that are valid throughout Switzerland.

Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts - Engineering & Architecture, CC Typology & Planning in Architecture (CCTP)
Lucerne School of Business, CC Regional Economics
Lucerne School of Business, CC Business Communication
Canton of Lucerne, Agriculture and Forestry
Canton Schwyz, Office for Forest and Nature
Canton of Obwalden, Office for Forest and Landscape
Canton of Nidwalden, Office for Forests and Natural Hazards
Canton Zug, Office for Forests and Wildlife
Canton of Uri, Office for Forestry and Hunting
Lignum Holzwirtschaft Zentralschweiz (including hosting website)
Pirmin Jung Switzerland AG
WWF Switzerland