Sustainability of forest energy in Northern Europe

Kati Koponen, Laura Sokka, Olli Salminen, Risto Sievänen, Kim Pingoud, Hannu Ilvesniemi, Johanna Routa, Tanja Ikonen, Tiina Koljonen, Eija Alakangas, Antti Asikainen, Kai Sipilä

Research output: Book/ReportReport

Abstract

Increased demand for wood in the bioeconomy and bioenergy production means increased pressure on forest resources. Policies emphasising the targets for bioenergy, such as the European Union 2020 targets for renewable energy, have evoked concern on the sufficiency of biomass resources. As forests have multiple roles in supplying raw materials for industry and energy production, climate change mitigation, and in provision of ecosystem and recreational services, comprehensive assessments are needed to reach balanced and sustainable use of forests. Careful management and sustainable use of forest resources can lead to greater climate benefits in the long run by preserving forests as a continuous storage of carbon, and a source of renewable materials and energy. This report summarises the research-based results of the use of forest biomass for energy in Northern European conditions. It discusses the trade-offs and winwin situations of growing forests, sequestration of carbon and using the wood also for energy - in an economically viable and ecologically sustainable manner. The topic is approached from several viewpoints: First, development of forest resources in the EU and in Finland is presented, and a background for the discussion on how much and what kind of wood is used for energy production is provided (Section 2). Second, ecological and climate impacts of the use of forest energy are discussed (Sections 3 and 4). Third, the role of forests in international climate policy and future EU regulations (Section 5), and the specific features of cascading use of wood in fibre producing countries (Section 6) are discussed. In addition, remarks on the economics and the future role of forest energy in lowcarbon scenarios are presented (Section 7). Finally, the conclusions and recommendations concerning forest energy use are provided (Section 8).
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages100
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-38-8364-5
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Technology
Number237
ISSN2242-1211

Keywords

  • forests
  • energy
  • scenarios
  • forest residues
  • climate impacts
  • ecological impacts
  • cascading
  • Finland

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    Koponen, K., Sokka, L., Salminen, O., Sievänen, R., Pingoud, K., Ilvesniemi, H., Routa, J., Ikonen, T., Koljonen, T., Alakangas, E., Asikainen, A., & Sipilä, K. (2015). Sustainability of forest energy in Northern Europe. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. VTT Technology, No. 237 http://www.vtt.fi/inf/pdf/technology/2015/T237.pdf