Forest bioenergy in Europe - Towards sustainable options

18 March 2014

The European Forest Institute (EFI) has conducted a scientific collective assessment at European level to provide new insights on forest bioenergy to policy makers and stakeholders. Such new assessment were presented at an open ThinkForest seminar on 18 March 2014 in the European Parliament, Brussels.

Background

Forest biomass is a major contributor to meeting the targets of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive. In recent years, concerns have been growing that increased biomass mobilization for energy use in the EU may result in unintended negative environmental impacts, both in the EU and in third countries. In this context, a full understanding of the climate change mitigation benefits of different forest bioenergy pathways is needed.

At the same time, forest bioenergy issues should not be detached from the ongoing discussions on the future EU “bioeconomy”. This policy debate, together with new technology options, has increased the focus on forest biomass with a range of sectors increasingly producing bio-based products. The challenge is to find the most efficient way of using forest biomass to ensure the highest economic and environmental added value.

EFI, conscious of the complexity of the topic, has conducted a scientific collective assessment at European level to provide new policy insights to policy makers and stakeholders. Such new assessment will be presented at this event.

Objectives

This ThinkForest event will offer scientists, stakeholders and policymakers a discussion forum to build a better understanding of the sustainability of forest bioenergy pathways in Europe, discussing the potential trade-offs with sectors producing bio-materials as well as with EU environmental policies. Recent EFI studies on the subject will be presented and made available at the event.

The event will provide synthesised information and a structured debate around the following questions:

- Is forest bioenergy “carbon neutral” and what is its climate mitigation potential?
- What are sustainability related risks of intensified forest management for bioenergy uses
- Bioenergy markets: what are the policy implications for the forest sector
- Biomaterials vs. bioenergy: Is the existing policy framework promoting the most efficient use of bioresources?

Final programme of the event is available here.

Presentations

Which are the main sustainability concerns with intensifying forest management for bioenergy purposes?
Mr. Bart Muys, KU Leuven, Belgium

Is forest bioenergy “carbon neutral”?
Mr. Martin Junginger, Utrecht University, the Netherlands

Forest bioenergy in Europe: policy messages (based on EFI Study)
Mr. Lauri Hetemäki, EFI

Biomass for biomaterials and bioenergy: trade‐offs and policy recommendations (STOA Study)
Ms. Bettina Kretschmer, Institute for European Environmental Policy

More information:

Dr. Marc Palahí, ThinkForest Coordinator, marc.palahi@efi.int
or Ms. Ulla Vänttinen, Event Officer, ulla.vanttinen@efi.int.