The climate effect of increased forest bioenergy use in Sweden: evaluation at different spatial and temporal scales
Journal article, 2015
Bioenergy from boreal forests managed for productive purposes (e.g., pulp, timber) is commonly held to offer attractive options for climate change mitigation. However, this view has been challenged in recent years. Carbon balances, cumulative radiative forcing, and average global temperature change have been calculated for a variety of bioenergy management regimes in Swedish forests and the results support the view that an increased use of forest biomass for energy in Sweden can contribute to climate change mitigation, although methodological (e.g. spatial scales) and parameter value choices influence the results significantly. We show that the climate effect of forest-based bioenergy depends on the forest ecosystems and management, including biomass extraction for bioenergy and other products, and how this management changes in response to anticipated market demands; and on the energy system effects, which determine the fossil carbon displacement and other greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation effects of using forest biomass for bioenergy and other purposes. The public and private sectors are advised to consider information from comprehensive analyses that provide insights about energy and forest systems in the context of evolving forest product markets, alternative policy options, and energy technology pathways in their decision-making processes.