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LIECO Forum 2023

Digitalization: How do we shape a sustainable
forestry and timber industry?

On May 4, over 170 representatives – private forest estate owners, state forest representatives, members of professional associations and start-ups, as well as scientists and politicians – came together for the 2023 LIECO Forum in Munich. Contributors from the worlds of science and politics, as well as those with experience on the ground, all presented exciting new ideas for the future of the forestry and timber industry.

In his keynote speech, Prof. Gunter Dueck called for progress in digitalization. "Even if you don't want to, you'll have to at some point, but then it will be hard to catch up" was the tenor of his unambiguous plea to take the steps needed. Political discussions shed light on current developments in Brussels, in particular the Nature Restoration Law and the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III). Three of the contributors set out innovative approaches: Christoph Gollob spoke about digitalization in the context of forest monitoring, Johan Ekenstedt presented the opportunities for using AR technology in the forestry sector, and Florian Rauschmayr presented a head-up display for digital forest management.

Oliver Hilpold, CEO of the LIECO Group, saw great opportunities in the merger: "The closing of ranks in the value chain is necessary to shape a sustainable forestry and timber industry. We all have the common goal of making the forest fit for the future in the face of climate change. For this, we also need digital progress."

"With the LIECO Forum, we want to be the platform for the urgently needed dialogue again this year," said Johannes Meran, CEO of Liechtenstein Group, in his welcome address. "I would like to invite you today to work together on solutions for the forest and forestry of the future – as an active contribution in the climate crisis, out of responsibility towards future generations and with enthusiasm for innovation, excellent science and dialogue."

This was the first year in which the LIECO Forum had been held in Germany and, once more, the Forum offered a platform for the top-level dialogue and knowledge-sharing that is so urgently needed. The Forum, a key networking event for the Austro-German forest industry, emphasized the importance of digitalization for overcoming the challenges in forest management, as well as the vital role of people as decision-makers and hence enablers of digitalization.