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New publication explains how Europe can harvest more wood to reach its sustainable energy goals by 2020

Published: 19 May 2010

Geneva

According to a new publication, if Europe is to achieve its renewable energy objective of 20% by 2020, it must step up the supply of wood from its sustainably managed forests.  In Europe, only 60% of the annual natural growth of the forests is currently being harvested. For a sustainable energy future, however, this is not near enough.

The publication, Good Practice Guidance on the Sustainable Mobilization of Wood in Europe, gives an overview of measures that countries can take to mobilize their wood resources. It presents a selection of eight mobilization areas, together with concrete measures and examples of good practice, which policy-makers and practitioners can take into account when developing wood mobilization strategies and practices for their own region. The guidance is intended for decision makers in administrations and industry, as well as forestry practitioners.

Good Practice Guidance sets out general principles to be applied in wood mobilization, such as avoiding the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, and making a maximum amount of market information available to all the stakeholders. 

“We hope that this publication will illustrate the enormous potential that wood has for a sustainable energy future,” said Paola Deda, head of the UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section. “In the European Union today, over 50% of renewable energy sources come from wood”.  

Looking at the additional potential countries have for increasing their wood supply, at least 60% of this potential could come from the forests themselves and 10% from forest expansion; and 17% from post consumer recovered wood.   

In the 56-country UNECE region, industry and Governments are already acting to mobilize wood sustainably. Estonia, for instance, encourages foresters to associate to jointly sell their wood. Accredited advisors inform forest owners about different management options, economic opportunities and support for introducing joint timber-marketing procedures.

According to Ms. Deda, “the publication will particularly contribute to implementing the resolution on “Forests, wood and energy”, which was adopted in 2007 by the Ministerial Conference on the Protection of Forests in Europe. That resolution encourages the mobilization of wood resources and further enhancement of the role of the forest sector in energy production. It also contributes to the objective of the EU Forest Action Plan to promote the use of forest biomass for energy generation”.

Good Practice Guidance on the Sustainable Mobilization of Wood in Europe was produced jointly by three key partners in the European forestry community:  UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section, FOREST EUROPE and the European Commission’s Directorate General Agriculture and Rural Development.

You can download it free of charge at the following link:
http://timber.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/publications/wood-mobilization-good_practice-guidance.pdf

UNECE/FAO website on sustainable wood mobilization: http://timber.unece.org/index.php?id=255
UNECE/FAO study on potential sustainable wood supply: http://www.unece.org/timber/docs/tc-sessions/tc-66/pd-docs/Paper_PotentialWoodSupply_v18Oct.pdf

or contact:

Franziska Hirsch

UNECE/FAO Forestry and Timber Section

Tel : +41 (022) 917 24 80

Ref: ECE/TIM/10/P08


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