Canadian Forest Service Publications

Sustainable biomass supply chains from salvage logging of fire-killed stands: A case study for wood pellet production in eastern Canada. 2015. Mansuy, N.; Thiffault, E.; Lemieux, S.; Manka, F.; Paré, D.; Lebel, L. Appl. Energy 154:62-73.

Year: 2015

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36049

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2015.04.048

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While western Canada is an international leader in the growing pellet market, eastern Canada remains a minor player despite its abundance of wood residues from natural disturbances. This study investigates the potential amount of biomass from salvage logging of fire-killed stands along with harvesting residues from clearcut to supply pellet plants in eastern Canada between. We built and optimized supply scenarios in two forest management units to fulfill different pellet plant capacities under various operational, ecological, and economics constraints. Despite the high spatial and temporal variability of burned area, this study confirms the large quantities of biomass from fire-killed stands available as ecologically sustainable feedstock for bioenergy, which, combined with the comparatively smaller and more stable quantities from clearcut harvesting residues could supply theoretical pellet plants. Our results show that under current market conditions, biomass both from harvest residues and fire-killed stands could fulfill on average between 5% and 66% of a 50 000 ODT y-1 plant needs at a price of $90 ODT-1 of wood chips for the decade considered. With a wood chip price at $120 ODT-1, 100% of the production capacity of a 50 000 ODT y-1 plant or even of a 100 000 ODT y-1 plant could be met. Ecological constraints related to the need to protect sensitive sites and prevent recovery operations on them, and operational constraints related to the capacity of the machinery to recover biomass from a given site, have little impact on the supply of biomass from fire-killed stands. However, important regional variations exist in terms of potentials and constraints, which would need to be taken into account when designing bioenergy industrial networks.

Plain Language Summary

Despite the spatial and temporal variability of forests burned in eastern Canada, this study confirms that a large quantity of wood could be salvaged as feedstock for bioenergy. In fact, trees and logging residues could be salvaged to meet, to varying degrees, the supply needs of a wood pellet plant consuming 50,000 dry metric tonnes/year.