U.S. and Global Wood Energy Outlook under Alternative Shared Socioeconomic Pathways

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There has been a significant increase in the use of wood pellets for energy in the past decade due in large part to their climate mitigation potential. Because of this, the demand for wood pellets is largely driven by policy, as well as socioeconomic development, making projections of future wood energy markets highly uncertain. The aim of this study is to provide projections of future wood energy market trends under five distinct socioeconomic scenarios based on the assumed future evolution of gross domestic product, population, technological change, trade openness, and bioenergy preferences using the FOrest Resource Outlook Model. In four out of the five scenarios considered, it is projected that the use of roundwood and mill chips, particles, and residuals will rise in order to produce a growing output of wood pellets in the United States and globally. In terms of international markets, the global dominance of Europe’s demand for wood, to help that continent achieve its own climate goals, further explains the sustained and growing supply position of the U.S. South regions to meet that demand. Taken together, the projections suggest emerging bioenergy markets will drive increased competition for inputs with other manufacturers, particularly in the U.S. South regions.

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