Does bioenergy improve forest management?
Policies in the European Union, the United States, and Canada support the use of forest biomass in heating, power generation, and transportation as a climate mitigation strategy. However, research conflicts on whether forest bioenergy results in greenhouse gas (GHG) savings in the long-term. This study investigates if there is evidence that bioenergy demand is likely to spur substantial changes in forestry management to cause greenhouse gas savings compared to fossil fuels in a reasonable time period of 20–30 years. The analysis tests or linkages between the recent ramp-up in bioenergy production and prices, and changes in forest management, residues harvest, and forest area, focusing on Canada, Sweden, and the United States. Specifically, this study looks at evidence of changes in the removal of logging residues, such as small branches and treetops; stand management, including site preparation, thinning, and fertilization; forest species composition; and total forest area in the three countries.