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Consequences of an increased extraction of forest biofuel in Sweden : a synthesis from the biofuel research programme 2007-2011

de Jong, Johnny; Akselsson, Cecilia; Berglund, Håkan; Egnell, Gustaf; Gerhardt, Karin; Lönnberg, Lina; Olsson, Bengt; Von Stedingk, Henrik



This report summarizes the state of knowledge with respect to possibilities for increasing the extraction of forest fuel in Sweden and the consequences of such increases on soil, water and biodiversity. It is based, above all, on research carried out within the Swedish Energy Agency’s research programme “the Bioenergy Feedstock Programme” (2007-2011), as well as on other, related projects financed by the Energy Agency. The goal of the study was to investigate and highlight

1. New knowledge emerged from the Bioenergy Feedstock Programme;

2. The link between research results and national environmental objectives and forestry guidelines;

3. What questions remain to be answered in order to allow for a long-term and sustainable production and use of forest fuels.

The result shows that there is a considerable potential for increasing forest fuel extraction without decreasing possibilities of achieving other societal, environmental and forest production objectives. The current extraction level of approximately 50 PJ can be increased to 87 PJ, at least. Branches and tops are the least problematic, while some questions remain regarding the consequences of stump extraction. Nevertheless, limited stump extraction should be possible. This increased extraction is linked to a number of conditions which must be fulfilled in order for negative effects to be avoided, i.e.:

1. That the general environmental considerations in forestry are not negatively affected.

2. That extracted branches, tops and stumps mainly comes from conifers.

3. That compensation for loss of base cations by means of ash recycling is done where needed, using good-quality ash.

4. That it is possible to limit soil damage as felling residues and stumps, when harvested, cannot be used to reinforce the strip roads (extraction of branches, tops and stumps can only be done on land with good load-bearing capacity).

5. That extraction is not done near woodland key habitats and nature reserves, where an increase in the amount of deadwood exposed to sunlight is likely to be more beneficial for biodiversity than if it is left elsewhere in a managed forest landscape

Publicerad i

2014, nummer: 01