Scientist appeal, 2018, against the use of whole trees for bioenergy

Almost 800 scientists write to the EU Parliament in January 2018, strongly urging that the burning of whole trees for bioenergy (as opposed to burning harvest residues or production wastes) should not be counted as renewable energy.

EASAC2017: Don’t burn whole trees for bioenergy

The EASAC is an advisory board to the EU, organized by the academies of science of all the EU countries. In this report, the EASAC looks at the functions of the forest and the conflicts of interest around it. They go through the research on forest bioenergy and recommend that whole trees not be used for bioenergy, because it has negative climate impacts. A follow-up report from 2019 which looks at new research draws the same conclusion.

FERN2019: EU forests in danger

The European environmental organization FERN reports on the threats against the forest in various countries around Europe, among them Sweden. Read the entire report.

Angelstam2019: From forest protection to green infrastructure.

This very important report examines the protected forest in Sweden, with Örebro county as an example. Angelstam concludes that we have a long way to go to reach the Aichi targets, not just because the protected area is too small, but because the areas are too small and are not connected. The report is published by the County Administration Board of Örebro.

Jonsson2019: Managed forests with mixed species can yield more timber

Jonsson and colleagues investigate ecosystem services for managed forests with spruce-pine, spruce-birch, and pine-birch, with different proportions of the tree species. They find that some combinations of these yield a higher production especially of timber and of bilberries. Read more in Nature Plants.

Ellison2017: The importance of the forest for the water cycle

Ellison with colleagues argue that the forest is extremely important for the water cycle in our ecosystems. Human access to water depends on the forest, and the forest is also very important to cool down the temperature locally. Read more in Global Environmental Change.

Cintas2017: The role of the forest for bioenergy

Cintas with colleagues argue that the forest should be used to substitute for fossil fuels. They model two energy scenarios and four forestry scenarios, and use different models than those who argue that bioenergy from forests gives a carbon debt because it takes time for the trees to grow again. Read more in Forest Ecology and Management.

Boysen2017: It’s hard to stop climate change by storing carbon from managed biomass production

Boysen with colleagues estimate the possibilities of slowing climate change by producing biomass which is then used for long-lived products, or is burned for energy whereupon the carbon is captured and stored underground (this is called BECCS, bioenergy with carbon capture, and is heavily used in IPCC scenarios). They estimate that this would be hard to do at a large scale since it would interfere with food production and natural ecosystems. It would also require large-scale irrigation and better carbon capture technology. Read more in Earth’s Future.

Andersson & Westholm, 2018: How the research program Future Forests was controlled by the Swedish forest industry.

Andersson and Westholm are social scientists who have investigated the research program Future Forests 2009-2012. They find that the forest industry has had a large influence over the research program, from the initial application which was first rejected by an international panel of scientists but was later accepted, to which interests were included in the program and how the research was communicated. The risk is that the research program hides existing conflicts and avoids seeing future risks. Read more in Science, Technology and Human Values.

Piirainen2015: Clearcuts decrease the carbon stock in the soil

Piirainen and colleagues measure the carbon stock in the soil of a forest which is clearcut and harrowed, in comparison with a forest which is not logged. After ten years, they find that the carbon stock in the soil above the mineral soil has decreased with 50 %, while the mineral soil carbon stock is unchanged. Read more in European Journal of Soil Science.