Canadian Forest Service Publications
Salvage harvesting for bioenergy in Canada: From sustainable and integrated supply chain to climate change mitigation. 2018. Mansuy, N.; Barrette, J.; Laganière, J.; Mabee, W.; Paré, D.; Gautam, S.; Thiffault, E.; Ghafghazi, S. WIREs Energ. Environ. 7: e298.
Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 39246
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Driven by the policy imperatives of mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improving energy security, an increasing proportion of global energy demand is being met by nonfossil energy sources. The socioeconomic and environmental benefits of replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy are complex; however, debate continues about issues such as best practices for biomass removal, stable supply chains, and GHG mitigation. With the greatest biomass per capita in the world, Canada could play an increasing role in the future of global bioenergy and the emerging bioeconomy. This paper reviews the utilization of feedstock salvaged after natural disturbances (fire and insect outbreaks) to supply wood-based bioenergy, by addressing the following multidisciplinary questions: (1) How much salvaged feedstock is available, and what are the uncertainties around these estimates? (2) How can sustainable practices to support increased removal of biomass be implemented? (3) What are the constraints on development of an integrated supply chain and cost-effective mobilization of the biomass? (4) Is the quality of biomass from salvaged trees suitable for conversion to bioenergy? (5) What is the potential for climate change mitigation? In average, salvaged feedstock from fire and insects could theoretically provide about 100 × 106 oven Dry ton (ODT) biomass per year, with high variability over time and space. Existing policies and guidelines for harvesting of woody biomass in Canadian jurisdictions could support sustainable biomass removal. However, uncertainties remain as to the development of competitive and profitable supply chains, because of the large distances between the locations of this feedstock and available processing sites. Another uncertainty lies in the time needed for a benefit in climate change mitigation to occur. A flexible supply chain, integrated with other sources of biomass residues, is needed to develop a cost-efficient bioenergy sector.
Plain Language Summary
An increasing proportion of global energy demand is being met by renewable, nonfossil sources that have a low carbon footprint. The social, economic, and environmental benefits of replacing fossil fuels with bioenergy are complex, however, and debate continues about issues such as biodiversity, land-use change, and food production. With the world’s largest forest sector, Canada could play an increasing role in the future of global bioenergy and the emerging bioeconomy. This paper reviews the use of salvaged feedstock (raw materials) after natural disturbances (fire and insect outbreaks) to supply wood-based bioenergy. The report addresses the following multidisciplinary questions: 1) How much salvaged feedstock is available, where is it located, and what are the uncertainties around these estimates? 2) How can we implement sustainable practices to support increased removal of biomass? 3) Can we develop an integrated supply chain and take advantage of this biomass in a cost-effective way, to ensure that this feedstock is appropriately valued within the forest industry sector? 4) Is the quality of fiber from salvaged trees suitable for conversion to bioenergy? 5) What is the potential for mitigation of climate change? Addressing these fundamental questions will help in creating a framework to support bioenergy policies and best practices for the use of salvaged trees in bioenergy production.