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Perspectives on the Potential Contribution of Swedish Forests to Renewable Energy Targets in Europe
Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden
The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, P.O. Box 3, SE-918 21 Sävar, Sweden
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 February 2011; in revised form: 16 April 2011 / Accepted: 26 April 2011 / Published: 4 May 2011
Abstract: Forest biomass is an important energy source in Sweden and some other European countries. In this paper we estimate the physically available (i.e., total potential) forest biomass for energy from annual forest harvesting (1970–2008) or in the total standing stock (2008) in Sweden. To place Sweden’s forest resources into perspective we relate this to an estimated need for renewable energy sources in Europe. As Swedish forests supply a range of goods and ecosystem services, and as forest biomass is often bulky and expensive to procure, we also discuss issues that affect the amount of forest biomass that is actually available for energy production. We conclude that forests will contribute to Sweden’s renewable energy potential, but to a limited extent and expectations must be realistic and take techno-economical and environmental issues into consideration. To meet future energy needs in Sweden and Europe, a full suite of renewable energy resources will be needed, along with efficient conversion systems. A long-term sustainable supply of forest resources for energy and other uses can be obtained if future harvest levels are increased until they are equal to the annual growth increment. Delivering more than this would require increasing forest productivity through more intensive management. The new management regimes would have to begin now because it takes a long time to change annual production in temperate and boreal forests.
Keywords: whole-tree harvest; renewable energy; wood fuel; forest fuel; sustainable forestry
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Egnell, G.; Laudon, H.; Rosvall, O. Perspectives on the Potential Contribution of Swedish Forests to Renewable Energy Targets in Europe. Forests 2011, 2, 578-589.
Egnell G, Laudon H, Rosvall O. Perspectives on the Potential Contribution of Swedish Forests to Renewable Energy Targets in Europe. Forests. 2011; 2(2):578-589.
Egnell, Gustaf; Laudon, Hjalmar; Rosvall, Ola. 2011. "Perspectives on the Potential Contribution of Swedish Forests to Renewable Energy Targets in Europe." Forests 2, no. 2: 578-589.