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Levin R.,University of Toronto | Eriksson H.,Swedish Forest Agency Skogsstyrelsen
Forestry Chronicle | Year: 2010

Concerns over climate change, peak oil and energy security have prompted countries such as Sweden to develop policies that promote alternative energy sources, including forest-based bioenergy. Sweden is at the forefront of research and development on forest-based bioenergy and has employed a model of science-based policy development to implement bioenergy production systems. In response to environmental concerns over whole-tree harvesting for bioenergy in Sweden, a number of government-funded research programs on forest-derived bioenergy have been undertaken with the intent of generating knowledge about the effects of whole-tree harvesting, ash recycling and bioenergy-related silvicultural practices on ecological systems and values such as soil, nutrient balances, water, biodiversity, greenhouse gas balances and recreation. Sweden developed a series of recommendations and good-practice guidelines for whole tree harvesting starting in 1986 and ending with the most recent revision in 2008. These guidelines and regulations are based on various scientific studies and include prescriptions and mandates to minimize environmental damage caused by whole tree harvesting for bioenergy. From the beginning, the process of developing effective guidelines and regulations governing whole tree harvesting in Sweden has been informed by science. Guidelines and regulations govern the areas of site productivity, utilization of recycled wood ash, biodiversity and physical damage to trees and soils. Overall, Sweden's experience demonstrates the way in which science can be used to inform guidelines and policies.

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