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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.

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Preface

This project was initiated by the Terrestrial Ecosystem Group (TEG), a working group under the Nordic Council of Ministers. The project's overall aim has been to describe and document possible effects of increased harvesting of bioenergy on biodiversity, landscapes, outdoor recreation, and the cultural heritage in Finland, Norway, and Sweden. Erik Framstad of the Norwegian Institue for Nature Research (NINA) has coordinated the project and edited the report. Håkan Berglund (Swedish Agricultural University, SLU) and Raimo Heikkilä (Finnish Environment Institute, SYKE) have been mainly responsible for effects on biodiversity in forests, Martin Weih (SLU) has had main responsibility for effects on biodiversity on agricultural land, Vegard Gundersen (NINA) has been responsible for effects on landscapes and outdoor recreation, whereas Ole Risbøl (Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, NIKU) has been responsible for effects on the cultural heritage. Other contributors have been Taru Peltola and Noora Lankinen of SYKE. In addition, Nicholas Clarke (Norwegian Forest and Landscape Institute), Göran Lundh (Swedish Forest Agency), Lars Nesheim (Bioforsk), Svein M. Søgnen (Norwegian Forest Owners' Association), and Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson (NINA) have kindly provided information or reviewed various sections of earlier drafts of the report. The main contact for the project at TEG has been Gudrun Schneider (Norwegian Ministry of Environment) up to 1 Sep. 2009, and Jannica Pitkänen-Brunnsberg (Metsähallitus) thereafter. The project has been financed by contributions from the Nordic Council of Ministers (over TEG's budget), the Norwegian Ministry of Environment, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, and the participating institutes.

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