XPRIZE Identifies 10 Future Breakthroughs Required to Protect Our Forests

Today, on the United Nations’ International Day of Forests, XPRIZE is releasing the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap, created in partnership with Kimberly-Clark Corporation. The digital report and its interactive website, based on future foresight techniques, illustrate the breakthroughs required for a healthier forest ecosystem, which might be the basis of future XPRIZE competitions.

Across the world, forests provide food security and shelter, protect biodiversity and house indigenous populations. While forests cover more than 30 percent of the Earth’s surface, more than 32 million acres of forests are lost due to human activity every year, with research showing that continued mass deforestation and degradation is accelerating climate change.

XPRIZE designs and operates global competitions to incentivize the development of technological breakthroughs that accelerate humanity toward a better future. Part of its prize design efforts include Impact Roadmaps – detailed reports that analyze complex and overlapping social, technological, economic, environmental, and policy issues, to identify the most effective solutions within a given domain. XPRIZE Impact Roadmaps are created through extensive secondary research, expert interviews, collaborative workshops with leading organizations and partners, along with crowdsourced feedback and activities through online communities.

“At XPRIZE, we believe both competition and collaboration are key to unlocking solutions to some of the greatest challenges of our time,” said Zenia Tata, chief impact officer of XPRIZE. “The threats to our forests are catastrophic, but the innovative breakthroughs and passionate community behind the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap make us hopeful that together we can spark something truly revolutionary to help restore and revive our environment.”

For the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap, XPRIZE conducted a literature review on existing forest research, interviewed dozens of experts in the field, and engaged stakeholders from more than 90 organizations, including universities, non-profits, government agencies and private companies to gather input and assess its findings.

“Raising awareness of the current state of our forests is just the first step in bringing about radical change,” said Francois Dufresne, president of the Forests Stewardship Council. “We are passionate about helping empower people, particularly Indigenous people, make everyday choices to help support our forests, and participating in the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap gave us a great, new way to catalyze a community of innovators to help protect our environment.”

“Innovative, sustainable management of the world's forest resources has unparalleled economic, environmental and social benefits,” said Alexander Buck, executive director of International Union of Forest Research Organizations. “It was an honor being a part of the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap, and we’re confident that through communication, collaboration, visibility and outreach, these breakthroughs can unlock new science-based innovations for forest management.”

The Future of Forests Impact Roadmap identifies the following breakthroughs for achieving a better future for forests and humankind:

  1. Super-Wood – A sustainably-produced alternative for wood that shifts the reliance on virgin wood from natural forests and plantations to another material that is sustainably produced and possesses the same strengths and qualities of natural wood.
  2. Global Transparency – A system that will provide traceability and transparency of forest-related activities, leading to better accountability.
  3. Super-Farming – Alternative, and highly-efficient farming methods, that take land-use pressure off forests by providing substantially larger crop yields, with lower energy expenditure and fewer waste byproducts.
  4. X-Meat – Alternative, highly-efficient methods for meat production, that eliminate most of the waste and pollution provided by cattle ranching and minimize energy and feed expenditures.
  5. Forest Regeneration – Cost-effective methods that could be widely utilized to restore existing forests and establish new ones.
  6. Value of Forests – Techniques, methods and platforms that help assess the ecological value (ecosystem service) of forests at high resolution.
  7. Stopping Wildfires – Highly-efficient wildfire prevention and mitigation techniques that would provide better wildfire prevention, mitigation and management.
  8. Invasive Species – A decentralized system that detects and aids in the elimination of harmful and invasive species.
  9. Super-Charcoal – Scalable and highly-efficient methods and technologies for converting wood into charcoal.
  10. Carbon Sequestration – Strengthening the role of forests in carbon sequestration and storage, thereby slowing down climate change and mitigating its effects.

“As an organization, we have an ambitious set of sustainability goals that will have a lasting impact on the people and communities we serve around the world,” said Lisa Morden, Vice President, Safety and Sustainability, Kimberly-Clark Corporation. “Partnering with XPRIZE to create the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap embodies these ambitions by giving us another avenue to helping people understand the importance of our environment and revealing breakthroughs that will help us transform our planet.”

The Future of Forests Impact Roadmap follows XPRIZE’s first Impact Roadmap, the Future of Housing Impact Roadmap, created in partnership with Lowe’s. To learn more or get involved with the Future of Forests Impact Roadmap, visit impactmaps.xprize.org.


XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit xprize.org.

About Kimberly-Clark

Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) and its trusted brands are an indispensable part of life for people in more than 175 countries. Fueled by ingenuity, creativity, and an understanding of people's most essential needs, we create products that help individuals experience more of what's important to them. Our portfolio of brands, including Huggies, Kleenex, Scott, Kotex, Cottonelle, Poise, Depend, Andrex, Pull-Ups, GoodNites, Intimus, Neve, Plenitud, Viva and WypAll, hold the No. 1 or No. 2 share position in 80 countries. We use sustainable practices that support a healthy planet, build stronger communities, and ensure our business thrives for decades to come. To keep up with the latest news and to learn more about the company's 147-year history of innovation, visit kimberly-clark.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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