Increased biomass harvesting for bioenergy

- effects on biodiversity, landscape amenities and cultural heritage values

image of Increased biomass harvesting for bioenergy

Bioenergy is one important form of renewable energy where Finland, Norway and Sweden have considerable potential. Greatly increased use of biomass for energy will, however, have considerable effects on environmental values like biodiversity, landscape appearance, outdoor recreation, and the cultural heritage. This review concludes that positive or marginally negative effects of biomass harvesting are likely for harvesting of logging residues, clearance of trees under power lines, along roads, and from marginal agricultural land, as well as production of energy crops on arable land. Negative effects are likely from harvesting of stumps, more intensive forest cultivation on logged areas, and harvesting of biomass from currently non-commercial forests. The environmental effects of production of biomass from reed canary grass or short rotation forestry will depend on where and how such production takes place.



Background and delimitation of the issues

The European Union and its member and associated states have committed themselves to a significant reduction in the emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gasses by 2020. As part of the strategy to meet this objective, these countries will greatly increase the use of renewable energy, including bioenergy and biofuels, to reduce the use of fossil energy. The underlying assumption is that the various policies and measures to increase the use of bioenergy will be efficient measures to reduce CO2 emissions and the associated effect on global warming.


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