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Coordination Actions in Support Of Sustainable And Eco-Efficient Short Rotation Forestry In CDM Countries

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Supporting innovation in energy production

Innovative approaches to combating climate change must be embraced by those who can implement them. Toward this aim, an EU-funded project sought to support stakeholders in the area of biomass- and forestry-related projects.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment

The Benwood project was set up as a coordination action to support various countries in sustainable and eco-efficient short rotation forestry (SRF), the practice of cultivating fast-growing trees. The countries targeted fall within the clean development mechanism (CDM) framework of the Kyoto Protocol. Project members worked to enhance experience exchange and sharing of information and best practices among researchers, scientists, biomass plant operators, farmers, project developers and other relevant stakeholders. With a focus on promoting and enhancing the quality of SRF afforestation /reforestation projects in developing countries, Benwood achieved its objectives through a series of workshops. Partners also collaborated to establish a set of guidelines, finalise a research and development (R&D) agenda, and prepare a final conference. Findings from data research, interviews and country reports were used to draw up a collection of best practices within SRF. Another project outcome was a business model that could be used to calculate the specific impact of introducing SRF to a farmer's cropland. Overall, Benwood activities reached a number of target groups. Training events by project developers on the topic of biomass energy helped improve farmers' knowledge on issues of SRF and use of biomass. SRF project developers, the final conference's main target group, increased their awareness of key issues — such as food and water scarcity — in developing such projects in CDM countries. Energy and utilities representatives and politicians also benefited from the project outreach, learning more about key aspects to be considered in order for SRF projects to positively impact society. As oil prices rise and demands to reduce fossil fuel dependency remain unabated, the attractiveness of SRF as a means of providing energy crops for use in power plants is gaining more attention. Efforts such as the Benwood initiative can go a long way to helping those involved in the production chain contribute to faster SRF uptake.

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