Highlighting the role of forest bioenergy for the future
UNECE/FAO workshop “Forest products and technologies for the future”
St. Petersburg 22-23 May 2013
A UNECE/FAO workshop on “Forest products and technologies for the future” was held in St. Petersburg at the Forestry Research Institute on 22 and 23 May 2013, thanks to the generous support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation (Rosleshoz). Over 270 participants from 27 countries attended the event held in the margins of the 3rd International Scientific Conference on “Innovations and Technologies in Forestry”.
Referring to ongoing consultations on a revised forest policy for the Russian Federation, Mr Vladimir Lebedev, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources and Environment and Head of the Federal Forestry Agency of the Russian Federation, stated that “Russian forest management practices need to be modernized. We need to attract foreign technologies, invest in domestic research and development, and promote the ecologically sustainable and responsible use of forests.”
Results for the 2011 round of the UNECE/FAO Joint Wood Energy Enquiry were presented at the workshop and are now available online.
Overall wood energy accounts for 3.3% of the total primary energy supply and 38.4% of the renewable energy supply in 28 UNECE member countries in 2011, confirming its role as the leading source of renewable energy. And around 40% of all mobilized woody biomass supply is used for energy purposes. Between 2007 and 2011, the volume of wood used for energy purposes within a subset of 13 countries that have responded to consecutive rounds of the enquiry grew from 207 to 242 million m3, an annual growth of 4%. In these countries the role of wood in total primary energy supply increased slightly from 4.3% to 5.4% while the share of wood energy among renewable energy sources increased from 49.8% to 51.4%.
Participants discussed key policies and technologies that could support the modernization of the forest sector in order to maximize its potential as an important source of timber and respond to the growing demand for sustainable forest bioenergy. Delegates from Belarus and Central Asia highlighted the different contexts and potentials for growth in the bioenergy sector in their countries. They called for more public and private investment along the wood energy value chain, with an emphasis on feedstock mobilization. Investments in bioenergy supply need to be complemented by awareness-raising in order to inform stakeholders of the opportunities linked with bioenergy and develop market opportunities.