Forest biomass is key to meet EU renewable energy targets

Forest bio-energy development offers good opportunities to mobilize the production potential of European forests and to contribute to a more climate friendly bio-based economy. But bio-energy development also holds risks, possibly in competition with traditional forest industry, and also in relation to its sustainability.

“Sufficient supply is not the right question, but how price levels and market trends will affect the mobilization potential of wood from the forest” pointed out one of the keynote speakers, Dr. Lauri Hetemäki from the European Forest Institute.

There was a broad consensus among participants that the promotion of renewable energy from the forest sector should go together with measures stimulating the use efficiency of biomass resources, and the cascading principle of maximizing added value and greenhouse gas savings in the production chain.There was also agreement that the sustainability rules for forest biomass used for energy do not need to be different from those for other forest products or land uses. There was a call for an improved greenhouse gas accounting methodology to shine more light on the issue of carbon neutrality.

“Using biomass for energy can help in promoting new types of forest management and ensure livelihoods in rural areas by giving new economic alternatives. The new Forest Strategy is an appropriate framework to bring the wood energy discussion”, pointed out Ms. Tarja Cronberg, Member of the European Parliament.

The seminar was organized by the high-level discussion and information-sharing forum on the future of forests in Europe – ThinkForest. ThinkForest aims to provide an active and efficient science-policy interface and foster an inspiring and dynamic dialogue on strategic forest-related issues.

Further information is available from Dr. Marc Palahí, Deputy Director, European Forest Institute, tel. +34 630 23 69 12. The programme and the presentations can be found on the event website.

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Photos: Maria Jalavisto/EFI

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