Status and prospects for renewable energy using wood pellets from the southeastern United States
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2017

The ongoing debate about costs and benefits of wood-pellet based bioenergy production in the southeastern United States (SE USA) requires an understanding of the science and context influencing market decisions associated with its sustainability. Production of pellets has garnered much attention as US exports have grown from negligible amounts in the early 2000s to 4.6 million metric tonnes in 2015. Currently, 98% of these pellet exports are shipped to Europe to displace coal in power plants. We ask, 'How is the production of wood pellets in the SE USA affecting forest systems and the ecosystem services they provide?' To address this question, we review current forest conditions and the status of the wood products industry, how pellet production affects ecosystem services and biodiversity, and what methods are in place to monitor changes and protect vulnerable systems. Scientific studies provide evidence that wood pellets in the SE USA are a fraction of total forestry operations and can be produced while maintaining or improving forest ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are protected by the requirement to utilize loggers trained to apply scientifically based best management practices in planning and implementing harvest for the export market. Bioenergy markets supplement incomes to private rural landholders and provide an incentive for forest management practices that simultaneously benefit water quality and wildlife and reduce risk of fire and insect outbreaks. Bioenergy also increases the value of forest land to landowners, thereby decreasing likelihood of conversion to nonforest uses. Monitoring and evaluation are essential to verify that regulations and good practices are achieving goals and to enable timely responses if problems arise. Conducting rigorous research to understand how conditions change in response to management choices requires baseline data, monitoring, and appropriate reference scenarios. Long-term monitoring data on forest conditions should be publicly accessible and utilized to inform adaptive management.

southeastern United States







best management practices

ecosystem services


V. H. Dale

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

K. L. Kline

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

E. S. Parish

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

A Cowie

University of New England

R. Emory

Weyerhaeuser NR Company

R. W. Malmsheimer

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

R. Slade

Imperial College London

C T Smith

University of Toronto

T. B. Wigley

National Council for Air and Stream Improvement

N. S. Bentsen

Köpenhamns universitet

Göran Berndes

Chalmers, Energi och miljö, Fysisk resursteori

P. Bernier

Canadian Forest Service

M. Brandao

Instytut Uprawy Nawozenia i Gleboznawstwa Panstwowy Instytut Badawczy

H. Chum

National Renewable Energy Laboratory

R. Diaz-Chavez

Imperial College London

Gustaf Egnell

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

L. Gustavsson

Linnéuniversitetet, Växjö

J. Schweinle

Thünen Institute of International Forestry and Forest Economics

I Stupak

Köpenhamns universitet

P. Trianosky

Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc.

A. Walter

Universidade Estadual de Campinas

C. Whittaker

Rothamsted Research

M. Brown

University of the Sunshine Coast

G. Chescheir

North Carolina State University

Ioannis Dimitriou

Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet (SLU)

C. Donnison

University of Southampton

A. G. Eng

United States Department of Energy

K. P. Hoyt

University of Tennessee

J. C. Jenkins


K. Johnson

United States Department of Energy

C. A. Levesque

Innovative Natural Resource Solutions, LLC

V. Lockhart

Resource Management Service L.L.C.

M. C. Negri

Argonne National Laboratory

J. E. Nettles

Weyerhaeuser NR Company

M. Wellisch

Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada

GCB Bioenergy

1757-1693 (ISSN) 1757-1707 (eISSN)

Vol. 9 8 1296-1305


Biologiska vetenskaper



Mer information

Senast uppdaterat