Opportunities and challenges in meeting renewable energy targets from forest biomass - an EU perspective

11 April 2013

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ThinkForest forum organised the seminar “Opportunities and challenges in meeting renewable energy targets from forest biomass: an EU perspective” on 11 April 2013 at 13.45-16.00 in the European Parliament in Brussels.

As part of the EU 20-20-20 targets, EU Member states are now working towards the renewable energy targets set for each country. All countries submitted action plans indicating how they would reach the targets. Given the large and increasing share of the European territory under forest land, and the continuing accumulation of biomass in these forests over the last decades, forest biomass may play a prominent role in reaching the targets.

Forest bioenergy development is considered to hold good opportunities for fossil fuel substitution, greenhouse gas emission reduction, energy security, fire management, biodiversity management and income generation. However, these may come with potential trade-offs for soil degradation, biodiversity loss, as well as roundwood market impacts that could have unwanted results to forest industries. The extent and impacts of these trade-offs depend heavily on the actual policy and regulation measures implemented, and the local conditions in different regions. Sustainable development of the increasing utilization of forest biomass is therefore a challenge, and there is a great demand for evidence-based information and analysis to support policy making in this setting.

The objectives of the event were to:

(i) Provide the state of the art on sustainable forest biomass utilization for energy purposes
(ii) Discuss the consequences of EU Energy Policy on biomass demand from the forest
(iii) Evaluate the upcoming EU sustainability criteria for solid biomass

Further information:

  • The programme of the event is available here.
  • News item about the event can be found here

  • An article on "Sustainable wood mobilization for EU renewable energy targets" can be found here.


Can European forests supply the woody biomass needed to meet the renewable energy action plans of EU member states?
Dr. Lauri Hetemäki, EFI

What are the regional long term effects of intensive forest biomass harvesting on soil fertility?
Dr. Paul Campling, VITO, Belgium

What are the sustainability issues and essential indicators for biomass from the forest?
Dr. Leyre Iriarte, International Institute for Sustainability Analysis and Strategy, Germany

More information

Dr. Bart Muys, EFIMED, bart.muys@efi.int
Dr. Marc Palahí, ThinkForest Coordinator, marc.palahi@efi.int

Photo: Maria Jalavisto, EFI