Increased biomass harvesting for bioenergy

- effects on biodiversity, landscape amenities and cultural heritage values

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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.




Increased use of energy from biomass, for heat, electricity generation or fuel, is an important element in the strategy of the Nordic countries and the European Union to reduce emissions of CO2. However, these countries also have ambitious objectives for sustainable development, including the maintenance of biodiversity, landscape qualities, opportunities for outdoor recreation, and the cultural heritage. The increased harvesting of biomass from forests, farmland and other land will affect these other environmental values. Hence, to be sustainable, harvesting of biomass should not have unacceptable effects on biodiversity, landscape values and outdoor recreation, or cultural heritage values.


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