Current issue: 54(3)
Simulation and modeling have become more common in forest biomass studies. Dynamic simulation has been used to study the supply chain of forest biomass with numerous different models. A robust predictive multi-year model requires biomass availability data, where annual variation is included spatially and temporally. This can be done by using data from enterprises, but in some cases relevant data is not accessible. Another option is to use forest inventory data to estimate biomass availability, but this data must be processed in the correct form to be utilized in the model. This study developed a method for preparing forest inventory data for a multi-year simulation supply model using the theoretical availability of feedstock. Methods for estimating quality changes during roadside storage are also presented, including a possible parameter estimation to decrease the amount of data needed. The methods were tested case by case using the inventory database “Biomass Atlas” and weather data from a weather station in Mikkeli, Finland. The data processing method for biomass allocation produced a reasonable quantity of stands and feedstock, having a realistic annual supply with variation for the demand point. The results of the study indicate that it is possible to estimate moisture content changes using weather data. The estimations decreased the accuracy of the model and, therefore, estimations should be kept minimal. The presented data preparation method can generate a supply of forest biomass for the simulation model, but the validity of the data must be ensured for correct model behavior.
According to the National Energy and Climate Strategy of Finland in 2016, the demand for forest chips, that is, wood chips made of forest biomass directly for energy use, could even double by 2030 compared to the present situation. A spatially explicit impact analysis of regional supply and demand balances for forest chips was carried out. The balances were calculated as the difference between technical harvesting potentials and demand. First, the technical potentials were estimated based on the national forest inventory data. Secondly, three demand scenarios were defined for 2030 and subsequently deducted from the potentials. The results suggested that there would be increasing competition for feedstock in southern and western Finland, whereas in eastern and northern Finland there would still be surplus potential. Moreover, due to the remarkable deficit of small trees in southern Finland, there might be pressure towards using more pulpwood-sized and/or imported wood in energy production. The results also showed that, in particular, large new plants consuming substantial amounts of forest chips could have a significant effect on the regional availability of forest chips. Moreover, with increasing transport distances, new logistical solutions will be needed.
Understanding the characteristics of unutilized biomass resources, such as small-diameter trees from biomass-dense thinning forests (BDTF) (non-commercially-thinned forests), can provide important information for developing a bio-based economy. The aim of this study was to describe the areal distribution, characteristics (biomass of growing stock, tree height, etc.) and harvesting potential of BDTF in Sweden. A national forest inventory plot dataset was imported into a geographical information system and plots containing BDTF were selected by applying increasingly stringent constraints. Results show that, depending on the constraints applied, BDTF covers 9–44% (2.1–9.8 M ha) of the productive forest land area, and contains 7–34% of the total growing stock (119–564 M OD t), with an average biomass density of 57 OD t ha–1. Of the total BDTF area, 65% is located in northern Sweden and 2% corresponds to set-aside farmlands. Comparisons with a study from 2008 indicate that BDTF area has increased by at least 4% (about 102 000 ha), in line with general trends for Sweden and Europe. Analyses revealed that the technical harvesting potential of delimbed stemwood (over bark, including tops) from BDTF ranges from 3.0 to 6.1 M OD t yr–1 (7.5 to 15.1 M m3 yr–1), while the potential of whole-tree harvesting ranges from 4.3 to 8.7 M OD t yr–1 (10.2 to 20.6 M m3 yr–1) depending on the scenario considered. However, further technological developments of the harvest and supply systems are needed to utilize the full potential of BDTF.
The nature areas surrounding the capital of Norway (Oslomarka), comprising 1 700 km2 of forest land, are the recreational home turf for a population of 1.2 mill. people. These areas are highly valuable, not only for recreational purposes and biodiversity, but also for commercial activities. To assess the impacts of the challenges that Oslo municipality forest face in their management, we developed four optimization problems with different levels of management constraints. The constraints consider control of harvest level, guarantee of minimum old-growth forest area and maximum open area after final harvest. For the latter, to date, no appropriate analyses quantifying the impact of such a constraint on economy and biomass production have been carried out in Norway. The problem solved is large due to both the number of stands and number of treatment schedules. However, the model applied demonstrated its relevance for solving large problems involving maximum opening areas. The inclusion of maximum open area constraints caused 7.0% loss in NPV compared to the business as usual case with controlled harvest volume and minimum old-growth area. The estimated supply of 20-30 GWh annual energy from harvest residues could provide a small, but stable supply of energy to the municipality.