Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Review article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Increased forest biomass production in the Nordic and Baltic countries – a review on current and future opportunities

Rytter, Lars; Ingerslev, Morten; Kilpeläinen, Antti; Torssonen, Piritta; Lazdina, Dagnija; Löf, Magnus; Madsen, Palle; Muiste, Peeter; Stener, Lars-Göran


The Nordic and Baltic countries are in the frontline of replacing fossil fuel with renewables. An important question is how forest management of the productive parts of this region can support a sustainable development of our societies in reaching low or carbon neutral conditions by 2050. This may involve a 70% increased consumption of biomass and waste to meet the goals. The present review concludes that a 50-100% increase of forest growth at the stand scale, relative to today's common level of forest productivity, is a realistic estimate within a stand rotation (similar to 70 years). Change of tree species, including the use of non-native species, tree breeding, introduction of high-productive systems with the opportunity to use nurse crops, fertilization and afforestation are powerful elements in an implementation and utilization of the potential. The productive forests of the Nordic and Baltic countries cover in total 63 million hectares, which corresponds to an average 51% land cover. The annual growth is 287 million m(3) and the annual average harvest is 189 million m3 ( 65% of the growth). A short-term increase of wood-based bioenergy by utilizing more of the growth is estimated to be between 236 and 416 TWh depending on legislative and operational restrictions. Balanced priorities of forest functions and management aims such as nature conservation, biodiversity, recreation, game management, ground water protection etc. all need consideration. We believe that these aims may be combined at the landscape level in ways that do not conflict with the goals of reaching higher forest productivity and biomass production.


coppice; cultivation areas; fertilization; growth increment; nurse crops; tree breeding; tree species

Published in

Silva Fennica
2016, Volume: 50, number: 5, article number: 1660

    Sustainable Development Goals

    Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
    Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
    Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Forest Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)