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Use of wood fuels from boreal forests will create a biofuel carbon debt with a long payback time

Owing to the extensive critique of food-crop-based biofuels, attention and hopes have turned toward second-generation wood-based biofuels. An important question is therefore whether wood from boreal forests could serve as a source for biofuels. However, in a typical boreal forest, it takes 70–120 years before a stand of trees is mature. If this time lag and the real dynamics of the carbon stock of boreal forests more generally are taken into account, it becomes necessary to reconsider the potential mitigation effects of the increased use of wood fuels from boreal forests. This paper finds that the increased harvest of a boreal forest creates a biofuel carbon debt that takes 150–230 years to repay.

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Paper provided by Statistics Norway, Research Department in its series Discussion Papers with number 637.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:637
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