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Wood biomass potentials for energy in northern Europe: Forest or plantations?

Mola-Yudego, Blas, Arevalo, Javier, Díaz-Yáñez, Olalla, Dimitriou, Ioannis, Haapala, Antti, Carlos Ferraz Filho, Antonio, Selkimäki, Mari, Valbuena, Ruben
Biomass and bioenergy 2017 v.106 pp. 95-103
silvicultural practices, issues and policy, plantations, energy, wood, bioenergy, models, resource management, timber production, biomass production, forest resources, forests, Norway, Lithuania, Denmark, Northern European region
Wood biomass for energy can be largely produced in northern Europe from forest land resulting from silvicultural practices and from agricultural land in the form of fast-growing plantations. The present paper estimates and compares the current regional potentials for wood biomass production attending to these sources. The data are based on spatialized estimates from previous models, largely based on empirical records concerning forest and plantation's productivity. The results show that 8.5 Mm3 of wood biomass can be produced annually from plantations when using 5% of the total available agricultural land, and 58.5 Mm3 from forest lands using current estimates of forest production. However, the results also show that a strategy for wood biomass resource management should be local rather than general: wood biomass potential from fast-growing plantations was larger in 19 regions than from forest resources (10 in Denmark, 6 in Norway and 3 in Lithuania) out of the 91 regions in the area included to this study. When considered together, northern Europe presents significant potential for wood biomass production for energy uses, and each country - and even region - should develop independent policy strategies of biomass generation in order to most efficiently realize their own potential for wood-based bioenergy.