Climate impacts of bioenergy from forest harvest residues

Anna Repo

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisCollection of Articles

Abstract

Climate change mitigation requires substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in the next decades. One option to reduce these emissions is to replace fossil fuels with low-carbon alternatives. Bioenergy from forest harvest residues has been considered as a carbon neutral source of energy, and therefore it has been regarded as an effective means to reduce the emissions. However, an increase in the extraction of forest harvest residues decreases the carbon stock, and the carbon sink capacity of forests. This effect can lessen the greenhouse gas emission savings and undermine the climate change mitigation potential of this bioenergy source. This dissertation examines the climate impacts of bioenergy produced from forest harvest residues. In this dissertation, an approach was developed to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions and the consequent warming climate impact of bioenergy from forest harvest residues. In addition, this dissertation suggests cost-effective ways to compensate for the carbon loss resulting from residue harvesting, and thus improve the climate impacts of this form of bioenergy. The dissertation illustrates the importance of accounting for reductions in the forest carbon stock in order to estimate the efficiency of bioenergy in reducing CO2 emissions reliably. The findings of this dissertation have implications for renewable energy and climate policies, and forest management. The results presented provide guidance on how to choose and plan bioenergy production practices that deliver the largest climate benefits. The approaches presented in this dissertation can be applied in the development of new forest management, which maximizes climate benefits of bioenergy from forest harvest residues with a low cost to the forest owner and the end-user of bioenergy.
Translated title of the contributionHakkuutähteiden energiakäytön ilmastovaikutukset
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Salo, Ahti, Supervising Professor
  • Liski, Jari, Thesis Advisor
Publisher
Print ISBNs978-952-60-6187-0
Electronic ISBNs978-952-60-6188-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

Keywords

  • carbon neutrality
  • climate change mitigation
  • forest carbon
  • soil
  • sustainability

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