Increased biomass harvesting for bioenergy

- effects on biodiversity, landscape amenities and cultural heritage values

image of Increased biomass harvesting for bioenergy

Bioenergy is one important form of renewable energy where Finland, Norway and Sweden have considerable potential. Greatly increased use of biomass for energy will, however, have considerable effects on environmental values like biodiversity, landscape appearance, outdoor recreation, and the cultural heritage. This review concludes that positive or marginally negative effects of biomass harvesting are likely for harvesting of logging residues, clearance of trees under power lines, along roads, and from marginal agricultural land, as well as production of energy crops on arable land. Negative effects are likely from harvesting of stumps, more intensive forest cultivation on logged areas, and harvesting of biomass from currently non-commercial forests. The environmental effects of production of biomass from reed canary grass or short rotation forestry will depend on where and how such production takes place.



Environmental consequences of biomass production and harvesting

As we have seen in chapter 2.2, a substantial part (78-89%) of the foreseen new supply of bioenergy in Finland, Norway and Sweden will come in the form of biomass from forests and farmland. The different types of biomass harvesting are likely to affect forests, agricultural landscapes and their ecosystems in varied and complex ways. In chapters 4-6 we will discuss such consequences in considerable detail. Here we will first identify the types of environmental values that are likely to be affected by the changes in forest and agricultural landscapes as a consequence of increased harvesting of biomass for energy. The mandate of our assessment specifies that the environmental values of concern here include biodiversity, the landscape, outdoor recreation, and cultural heritage values. Each of these themes will be discussed in turn.


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