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An increased biofuel production will not affect the production of wood products

Publicerad: 18 juni 2018

An increased biofuel production will not affect the production of wood products. While on the aggregated level it is seen that the total production of wood for material use is not largely impacted by increasing bioenergy consumption, there are large sectorial differences. Some material-producing industries are projected to increase their profitability, driven by increased demand for their by-products. The results also indicate that without the additional biomass produced from fast-growing plantations, the pressure to use roundwood directly for energy purposes will increase.

Impact assessment

The implication of three policy scenarios was assessed for each individual EU28 member state and for Sweden in particular. The scenarios include one with enhanced forest protection schemes and two with incremental increases in roundwood product. The chosen approach of integrating the modelling of trade, biomass harvest, material production, and competition for biomass resources between sectors was found essential in examining the complex question of wood use for increased bioenergy demand, within the EU and Sweden.

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The estimates are particularly created so that they could be used as exogenous input to the models being used in the project to describe the development in Sweden, thereby allowing them to incorporate a consideration to not only Swedish developments, but also international market developments.

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Generally, the results highlight that increased bioenergy demand leads to a stronger pressure on the forests in the EU, i.e. higher harvest levels and more intensive use of forests throughout the EU. In addition, the results show that high future bioenergy demand levels are likely to lead to increased EU biomass imports, especially wood pellets. High bioenergy demand levels are also seen to counteract cascading use of wood, and even lead to increased combustion of roundwood to energy.

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While on the aggregate level it is seen that the total production of wood for material use is not largely impacted by increasing bioenergy consumption, there are large sectorial differences. Some material-producing industries (especially sawmill industries) are projected to increase their profitability, driven by increased demand for their by-products to be used for energy, some industries will face increased competition for feedstocks (especially particleboard production). The estimates also show that without the additional biomass produced from fast-growing plantations such as short rotation coppice (SRC), the pressure to use roundwood directly for energy purposes and EU biomass imports will heavily increase.

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In terms of the estimates for Sweden, the results show that the short-term demand for wood is close to the full harvesting potential in Sweden. In the period from 2020 to 2040, all demand scenarios display similar levels of high demand that are close to the potential supply. Under high bioenergy demand, harvest levels are projected to stay high over a longer time and particularly impact the harvest levels of pulpwood.