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Review article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

The climate effect of increased forest bioenergy use in Sweden: evaluation at different spatial and temporal scales

Cintas, Olivia; Berndes, Göran; Cowie, Annette L; Egnell, Gustaf; Holmström, Hampus; Ågren, Göran


Bioenergy from boreal forests managed for productive purposes (e.g., pulp, timber) is commonly held to offer attractive options for climate change mitigation. However, this view has been challenged in recent years. Carbon balances, cumulative radiative forcing, and average global temperature change have been calculated for a variety of bioenergymanagement regimes inSwedish forests, and the results support the view that an increased use of forest biomass for energy in Sweden can contribute to climate change mitigation, although methodological (e.g., spatial scales) and parameter value choices influence the results significantly. We show that the climate effect of forest-based bioenergy depends on the forest ecosystems and management, including biomass extraction for bioenergy and other products, and how this management changes in response to anticipated market demands; and on the energy system effects, which determine the fossil carbon displacement and other greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation effects of using forest biomass for bioenergy and other purposes. The public and private sectors are advised to consider information from comprehensive analyses that provide insights about energy and forest systems in the context of evolving forest product markets, alternative policy options, and energy technology pathways in their decision-making processes.

Published in

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews Energy and Environment
2016, volume: 5, number: 3, pages: 351-369

Authors' information

Cintas, Olivia
Chalmers University of Technology
Berndes, Göran
Chalmers University of Technology
Cowie, Annette L
University of New England
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Forest Resource Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecology

Associated SLU-program

SLU Future Forests

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG7 Affordable and clean energy
SDG13 Climate action

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)