Wspólnotowy Serwis Informacyjny Badan i Rozwoju - CORDIS

WP(4) Environmental analysis of energy wood production

This report identifies the main environmental implications of wood fuel harvesting operations in Europe, drawing on published scientific literature.

- For example, nutrients can be returned to sites, including via wood ash.
- In common with forestry in general, a balance needs to be struck between economic, technical, ecological etc. goals.
- Particular attention is needed in southern Europe, where many forests are fragile with limited production potential and high ecological value.
- However, extracting biomass for energy in southern European forests offers a way to reduce fire hazard, which is a major increasing threat.

Key innovative features of the results:
- All these mentioned impacts are manageable with fairly straightforward measures that are generally an extension of good conventional forestry practice.

Use potential:
- Bioenergy, including wood fuel, is the main contributor to renewable energy in Europe and the sector is growing.
- There is a lack of information and guidance for forest managers harvesting biomass for energy

Current status:
- Extracting more residues causes that nutrient export from the forest site is substantially higher, there is more traffic on site so greater risk of physical impact, there are additional noisy activities, there are risks of harm to water courses, there may be some ecological impact with sources of dead wood removed.
- Extraction of more material gives greater intensity and higher risk of impact.

Expected benefits:
- The global benefit of displacing fossil fuel with modern wood fuel use is clear, with life cycle analyses showing that bioenergy systems are near-neutral in terms of emissions of the greenhouse gas CO2 to the atmosphere.
- Practical experience and research has shown that fuel wood systems can be operated across Europe that are locally sustainable.

Dissemination of the results have been carried out by 1) Using Echaine web-page, 2) Presentations at two by Echaine organised international workshops (Bulgaria and Russia), 3) Presentations at national and international seminars and workshops, 4) Scientific papers.

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