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European forests are crucial to achieving the European Green Deal — a socially and territorially fair transition to a circular bioeconomy, in which resources are renewable, biologically based, sustainably managed and reused whenever possible (M. Palahí et al. https://doi.org/10.36333/k2a02; 2020). The European Union Forest Strategy currently being drawn up needs actionable vision as climate change and natural disturbances erode forests’ capacity to provide key ecosystem services. It could also generate a range of renewable options to replace fossil-based products.