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

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Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Bjart Holtsmark, 2010. "Use of wood fuels from boreal forests will create a biofuel carbon debt with a long payback time," Discussion Papers 637, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:637
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    File URL: https://www.ssb.no/a/publikasjoner/pdf/DP/dp637.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Lillian Hansen & Hilde Bjørkhaug, 2017. "Visions and Expectations for the Norwegian Bioeconomy," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(3), pages 1-17, February.
    2. Bjart Holtsmark, 2012. "Harvesting in boreal forests and the biofuel carbon debt," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 112(2), pages 415-428, May.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    forestry; greenhouse gas emissions; bioenergy; carbon neutrality;

    JEL classification:

    • Q23 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Forestry
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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