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Opportunities and Impacts of Bioenergy Policies and Targets on the Forest and Other Sectors

15 October 2007

Palais des Nations, Geneva

 Information en français          Информация на русском  


Concerns about climate change and energy security have led policy and decision makers to expect wood to make a significant larger contribution to energy supply, and put policies in place to promote this. Relevant policies along with rising energy prices have increased the demand for wood for energy. At the same time, Europe’s wood processing industries (for sawnwood, paper, panels) continue to expand, with the result that competition for raw material is increasing in many regions. UNECE/FAO statistics show that the volume of wood that is harvested from forests throughout the UNECE region at present is less than the volume increase. The challenge is how to bring enough wood to the market without compromising the sustainable management of the forest and without undesirable impacts on other sectors and geographical regions. Another challenge is to define what is a sustainable level in the new circumstances.

The present forum will build on open questions and recommendations from the Wood Mobilization Workshop in January 2007 in Geneva, and focus on possible impacts and consequences of increased wood utilization on and by other sectors and, other geographical regions.


This policy forum aims to:

  • inform policy and decision makers on wood energy policies and their impacts;
  • discuss the increasing demands of both the bioenergy sector and the wood-processing industry, and the mobilization of wood to satisfy both.


The main messages of the presentations and the discussion of policy forum are summarized in the Chairman's summary. A brief summary is also given in the press release.

Further douments and ouputs can be found under 'documents'.

Venue and format

The forum was held on 10 October 2007 during the 65th Session of the UNECE Timber Committee at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. It will have simultaneous interpretation in English, French and Russian. Approximately one-third of the time is allocated to discussion following expert presentations.

Key questions

  • Which policies have led and might lead in the future to a stimulus for wood energy and an increasing demand for wood? What are their past and future impacts?
    (Analysis of EU, North American and Russian policies and their effects)
  • How much wood can the UNECE region supply to satisfy the increasing demand for wood raw material on a sustainable level, considering existing patterns and new opportunities for improved wood mobilization? How much wood is available outside forests, for example in hedgerows, or as by-products or recovered wood and fibre?
    (Presentation of studies arising from the January workshop.)
  • How can wood resources be efficiently mobilized? (Building on the January workshop recommendations.) Examples of successful mobilization e.g., empowering forest owners, coherent policies, improved infrastructure)
  • What are possible cross-sectoral links, and contributions to other sectors, such as environment, agriculture, energy and transport?
  • How to ensure a level playing field for bioenergy generation from agriculture crops and forest-based biomass, and imported vs. domestic sources?

Target audience

Participation is open to policy and decision makers in relevant fields (forestry, energy, environment, agriculture), as well as experts from NGOs, scientific bodies, industry and trade organizations, national and international certification schemes, private forest owners’ organizations and international organizations. Representation will be global.

For updates and further information visit our website or contact:

Wulf Killmann, Director
FAO Forest Products and Industries Division
Tel. No. +39 06 5705 3221
Fax No. +39 06 5705 5618
E-mail: Wulf.Killman@fao.org

Kit Prins
UNECE/FAO Timber Section, Trade and Timber Division
United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
Palais de Nations, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland
Tel. No. +41 22 917 2874
Fax No. +41 22 917 0041
E-mail: Christopher.Prins@unece.org