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Research article2010Peer reviewed

Primary energy and greenhouse gas implications of increasing biomass production through forest fertilization

Sathre, Roger; Gustavsson, Leif; Bergh, Johan


In this study we analyze the primary energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) implications of increasing biomass production by fertilizing 10% of Swedish forest land. We estimate the primary energy use and GHG emissions from forest management including production and application of N and NPK fertilizers. Based on modelled growth response, we then estimate the net primary energy and GHG benefits of using biomaterials and biofuels obtained from the increased forest biomass production. The results show an increased annual biomass harvest of 7.4 million t dry matter, of which 41% is large-diameter stemwood. About 6.9 PJ/year of additional primary energy input is needed for fertilizer production and forest management. Using the additional biomass for fuel and material substitution can reduce fossil primary energy use by 150 or 164 PJ/year if the reference fossil fuel is fossil gas or coal, respectively. About 22% of the reduced fossil energy use is due to material substitution and the remainder is due to fuel substitution. The net annual primary energy benefit corresponds to about 7% of Sweden's total primary energy use. The resulting annual net GHG emission reduction is 11.9 million or 18.1 million tCO(2equiv) if the reference fossil fuel is fossil gas or coal, respectively, corresponding to 18% or 28% of the total Swedish GHG emissions in 2007. A significant one-time carbon stock increase also occurs in wood products and forest tree biomass. These results suggest that forest fertilization is an attractive option for increasing energy security and reducing net GHG emission. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Greenhouse gas; Forest management; Fertilization; Wood products; Biofuel; Climate change mitigation

Published in

Biomass and Bioenergy
2010, Volume: 34, number: 4, pages: 572-581

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Future Forests

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG12 Responsible consumption and production
    SDG13 Climate action

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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