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Forest-based bioenergy in Norway’s green transition: Balancing production and other societal interests

Asbjørn Torvanger

This report explores the potential of bioenergy from forests to contribute to the green transition of society. Forest biomass is the largest potential bioenergy source in Norway, in the form of firewood, chips for heating, and biofuels. Firewood and chips for firing can be produced locally and small-scale, whereas biofuels must be produced at industrial and large scale - also implying more industrial logging practices. Bioenergy must compete with other societal needs, especially timber for buildings and fiber for industry, which have higher value. In addition, forests provide eco-services like nature protection for biodiversity, carbon storage as a climate measure, as well as an arena for outdoor activities. In this report I first examine available forest resources for bioenergy in Norway, then assess how bioenergy production can be balanced with nature protection and outdoor activities in Oslo and Viken county. This assessment is based on interviews with stakeholders from forest owners, industry, environmental organizations, and authorities. There are unused forest resources for bioenergy in Norway based on biomass with lowest quality. Increased biofuel production requires large investments in production facilities and depends on higher prices and more taxing of fossil fuels. Local logging and firewood production is easier to combine with nature protection and outdoor activities than industrial logging for biofuels, timber, or fiber production. Conflicts with other societal interests is reduced if more forest areas are protected, especially in the vicinity of cities, whereas other areas are open for logging.

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  • År: 2021
  • Språk: English
  • Serie/Rapport: CICERO Report;2021:09