Zürich, Switzerland
Zürich, Switzerland

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Werner F.,Werner Environment and Development | Taverna R.,GEO Partner AG | Hofer P.,GEO Partner AG | Thurig E.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest | Kaufmann E.,Swiss Federal Institute of forest
Environmental Science and Policy | Year: 2010

An increased use of wood products and an adequate management of forests can help to mitigate climate change. However, planning horizons and response time to changes in forest management are usually long and the respective GHG effects related to the use of wood depend on the availability of harvested wood. Therefore, an integral long-term strategic approach is required to formulate the most effective forest and wood management strategies for mitigating climate change. The greenhouse gas (GHG) dynamics related to the production, use and disposal of wood products are manifold and show a complex time pattern. On the one hand, wood products can be considered as a carbon pool, as is the forest itself. On the other hand, an increased use of wood can lead to the substitution of usually more energy-intense materials and to the substitution of fossil fuels when the thermal energy of wood is recovered. Country-specific import/export flows of wood products and their alternative products as well as their processing stage have to be considered if substitution effects are assessed on a national basis. We present an integral model-based approach to evaluate the GHG impacts of various forest management and wood use scenarios. Our approach allows us to analyse the complex temporal and spatial patterns of GHG emissions and removals including trade-offs of different forest management and wood use strategies. This study shows that the contributions of the forestry and timber sector to mitigate climate change can be optimized with the following key recommendations: (1) the maximum possible, sustainable increment should be generated in the forest, taking into account biodiversity conservation as well as the long-term preservation of soil quality and growth performance; (2) this increment should be harvested continuously; (3) the harvested wood should be processed in accordance with the principle of cascade use, i.e. first be used as a material as long as possible, preferably in structural components; (4) waste wood that is not suitable for further use should be used to generate energy. Political strategies to solely increase the use of wood as a biofuel cannot be considered efficient from a climate perspective; (5) forest management strategies to enhance carbon sinks in forests via reduced harvesting are not only ineffective because of a compensatory increase in fossil fuel consumption for the production of non-wooden products and thermal energy but also because of the Kyoto-"cap" that limits the accountability of GHG removals by sinks under Article 3.3 and 3.4, at least for the first commitment period; (6) the effect of substitution through the material and energy use of wood is more significant and sustained as compared with the stock effects in wood products, which tend towards new steady-state flow equilibria with no further increase of C stocks; (7) from a global perspective, the effect of material substitution exceeds that of energy recovery from wood. In the Swiss context, however, the energy recovery from wood generates a greater substitution effect than material substitution. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Lundmark T.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Bergh J.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | Hofer P.,GEO Partner AG | Lundstrom A.,Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences | And 5 more authors.
Forests | Year: 2014

In Sweden, where forests cover more than 60% of the land area, silviculture and the use of forest products by industry and society play crucial roles in the national carbon balance. A scientific challenge is to understand how different forest management and wood use strategies can best contribute to climate change mitigation benefits. This study uses a set of models to analyze the effects of different forest management and wood use strategies in Sweden on carbon dioxide emissions and removals through 2105. If the present Swedish forest use strategy is continued, the long-term climate change mitigation benefit will correspond to more than 60 million tons of avoided or reduced emissions of carbon dioxide annually, compared to a scenario with similar consumption patterns in society but where non-renewable products are used instead of forest-based products. On average about 470 kg of carbon dioxide emissions are avoided for each cubic meter of biomass harvested, after accounting for carbon stock changes, substitution effects and all emissions related to forest management and industrial processes. Due to Sweden's large export share of forest-based products, the climate change mitigation effect of Swedish forestry is larger abroad than within the country. The study also shows that silvicultural methods to increase forest biomass production can further reduce net carbon dioxide emissions by an additional 40 million tons of per year. Forestry's contribution to climate change mitigation could be significantly increased if management of the boreal forest were oriented towards increased biomass production and if more wood were used to substitute fossil fuels and energy-intensive materials. © 2014 by the authors.

Hofer P.,Geo Partner AG | Hofer P.,Zurich Holz AG | Angleitner J.,Geo Partner AG
Schweizerische Zeitschrift fur Forstwesen | Year: 2013

The article addresses wood supply for a large heating plant in Switzerland, delivered by Zürich Holz AG. It describes the role of the supplier, in this case a wood marketing company, owned by the forest owners, in preparing and delivering the contracted volumes. Important factors in the success (so far) of the supply system are the reliable supply of the contracted volumes by the suppliers as well as careful organisation and monitoring of deliveries. The commercial success is based on systematic reference to the energy content of the wood. The article also addresses the measures put in place to guard against possible future reductions in wood availability.

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