Impacts of Increasing Bioenergy Production on Timber Harvest and Carbon Emissions

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Using a partial equilibrium model of the Swedish forest sector, this study analyzes the impacts of an increasing bioenergy production on the timber harvest and forest growing stock. The impacts on the carbon balance of forests are also examined. The results suggest that, when compared with the base scenario, in which the current use pattern of forests continues, increased bioenergy production will lead to a 10-14 million m3 (Mm3) increase in the total harvest, depending on the extraction rate of forest residues. Increasing the use of forest residues will reduce the harvest and leave more room for accumulation of the forest stock in the early years, while the stock accumulation will be partially offset by the increased timber harvest in the long run. Increasing bioenergy production will have a negative impact on the carbon balance primarily due to a net loss of carbon stored in forests. Overall, the joint contribution of forest-based mitigation is significant, equivalent to or higher than 65% of the country's annual GHG emissions. To achieve an ambitious bioenergy target in the long run, a fraction of pulpwood will be consumed as fuelwood that will inevitably intensify the competition between the two timber products, though increasing the use of forest residues could slightly reduce the competition in the short run.

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Journal of Forest Economics

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