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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.

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Other land – mires and wetlands

Apart from the biomass from forests and farmlands, bioenergy may also be harvested from other types of land. We have already discussed the possibility of harvesting woody biomass from marginal agricultural land (chapter 5) and woody resources under power lines and along roads (chapters 4.1.1, 4.2.1). Remaining areas for the harvesting of biomass for bioenergy are mainly associated with mires and wetlands. There is already extensive harvesting of peat for energy purposes in Finland and to some degree in Sweden (cf chapter 2.2, Table 2). In addition, there are potentials for harvesting reeds from cultivated mires or from natural growth in wetlands (cf below). Such plans seem to be most developed in Finland.

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