GREBE to hold its ninth and final partner meeting in Thurso, Scotland

 

ERI

The GREBE project partners will hold their ninth and final partner meeting in Thurso in Scotland next week.  We have a busy schedule planned and the Environmental Research Institute has been working to co-ordinate the programme to fit in as much as possible.

On Tuesday and Wednesday morning, we will have our project meeting in the Environmental Research Institutes buildings in Castle Street and in the Centre for Energy & the Environment (CfEE).  This is a £3 million purpose-built centre situated next to The North Highland College UHI. This building was funded as part of the MaREE project by the EU Regional Development Fund, the Scottish Funding Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. The CfEE is home to staff working on Renewable Energy & the Environment, Climate Change and Ecology & Ecosystems. The CfEE has open plan office space, conference rooms and workshops, and there are laboratories available for teaching, making it the ideal venue for our partner meeting.

Then on Wednesday afternoon, we visit the Wick district heating scheme, located in Wick, Caithness, in the Highlands region of Scotland. It uses woodchip to generate heat by combustion, supplying steam to Pulteney Distillery and providing heating to around 200 homes and public buildings in the area.

On Thursday, we will host our final conference ‘Local Opportunities through Nordic Cooperation’. The north of Scotland shares many of the challenges and opportunities of its Nordic neighbours. It also has a long and established reputation and vast experience in working with organisations in Northern Europe. It is ideally placed to further collaborate and exchange information and practices to benefit local residents and communities.

Thurso

The conference will highlight the impact and opportunities of existing collaborative work. The free event will focus on existing projects which have worked to use and maintain local, natural resources in a sustainable way, to benefit local regions.

To register for our conference, please contact DESISLAVA.TODOROVA@UHI.AC.UK  or phone + 44 (0) 1847 889 597.

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Heat Entrepreneurs’ meeting, April 4th Kontiolahti, Finland

KUAS

Annual meeting of the Finnish Heat Entrepreneurs in North Karelia was organised by the Finnish Forest Centre in April 4th Kontiolahti. The event focused on the energy wood markets and current development challenges, new harvesting method trials, drying of wood by using excess heat of energy plants, and socio-economic impacts of local heat entrepreneurships. After the meeting, participants had a visit to the Kontiolahti 1.5 MW heating plant equipped with a 7.6 kW solar power system.

Adjunct professor Yrjö Nuutinen from LUKE introduced latest research on the new corridor thinning method. The method – with 1-2 thinning corridors harvested in different formations – has been earlier applied in Sweden, US and Canada. Now the corridor thinning is studied and tested for pine dominated first thinning stands in Finland, aiming that it will be a generally accepted thinning method and it fulfills the forest management requirements of Forestry Centre.

The latest results on the socio-economic impacts of Eno Energy Cooperative were presented by GREBE partner Dr Lasse Okkonen from Karelia UAS. The total employment impacts of the Eno Energy Cooperative in 2000-2015, were approximately 160 FTE’s and total income impact in the same period about 6.6 MEUR. During the period of highest oil prices, over 50% of the benefits resulted from heating cost savings of both private households and public sector.

Bioeconomy expert Urpo Hassinen, from the Finnish Forest Centre, presented the latest results on the firewood drying by utilising excess heat of the heating plants. There was potential, especially when existing infrastructure could be utilised. Drying of woodfuel could also compensate the decreasing heat demand resulting from closure of public estates in rural areas.

CEO Janne Tahvanainen presented the market outlook from an industry perspective. The market fluctuations, caused by the weather challenges in last summer and autumn, as well as varying imports from Russia, were discussed. Weather challenges were considered a most important factor affecting current markets. For instance snow damages have increased harvesting volumes in northern part of North Karelia, and moist summers and autumns have affected biomass drying. Impacts of weather conditions on RE markets are being further investigated through the GREBE project during this spring.

Ireland’s forestry cover now at 10% of land area

Lumber stacks

One in every 10 hectares of land is now planted in forestry, according to the latest figures. The Government’s Forestry Statistics paint a picture of the country’s afforested grounds amid increasing pressure to up volume of lands under trees due to greenhouse gas emissions targets. Despite Ireland falling far short of planting targets, the area of forest is estimated to stand at 731,650ha or 10.5% of the total land area of the country. Around 53% or 389,356ha is in public ownership, mainly Coillte.

The forested area acts as a carbon reservoir, amounting to 381 million tonnes of carbon in 2012 and between 2008 and 2012 it removed 16Mt of CO2 and offset 5% of all national emissions. There have been major concerns raised in western counties, particularly Leitrim, over the level of forestry planting in the region. Farmers account for 83% of private lands afforested between 1980 and 2016, with the average size of private grant-aided plantations around 8.8ha since 1980. It states farmer planting has dominated afforestation since 1993. With farmers and non-farmers now eligible for the same rate of grants and premium payments, the number of non-farmers planting has increased to 35% of the areas afforested in 2016. It points out that ‘non-farmers’ include retired farmers, sons and daughters of farmers and other relatives who may have inherited land.

Forestry and its role in carbon sequestration is an obvious part of any solution to the problem of emissions produced by agriculture. In 2016, Cork had the highest afforestation area at 608ha, followed by Clare at 552ha, Roscommon at 435ha, Leitrim at 434ha and Mayo at 429. There were 34 ‘non-farmers’ who accounted for 254ha in Cork in 2016, while 33 accounted for 238ha in Clare, 26 for 212ha in Cavan and 28 for 195ha in Leitrim. Efforts have been made recently to increase the volume of broadleaves planted by the Agriculture Department, with increased grant incentives, as the forest estate is made up of three quarters conifers and one quarter broadleaves. Sitka spruce is the most common species, accounting for 52% of the forest area. The report warns tree diseases impacting species such as larch and Chalara fraxinea or ash dieback may influence diversity into the future.

Source: https://www.independent.ie/business/farming/forestry-enviro/forestry/forestry-cover-now-at-10pc-of-land-area-36697235.html

Use of data and technology to grow and harvest more wood

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TECH4EFFECT is a collaborative research project to increase access to wood resources. Data and knowledge based management will enable more efficient silviculture and harvesting, but also reduction of soil and environmental impact from forest operations with the TECH4EFFECT benchmarking system.

The strategic objective of TECH4EFFECT is to improve the efficiency of European forest management by enabling a data-driven knowledge-based revolution of the European forest sector while also providing key incremental improvements in technology. The TECH4EFFECT (Knowledge and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement) project recently published a new animation video: https://youtu.be/54DDLTon7rg

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The TECH4EFFECT project has received funding under the Horizon2020 BBI (Bio-Based-Industries) programme by the European Union. The TECH4EFFECT project objectives are relevant also for the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

More information about the project can be found under http://www.tech4effect.eu/

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Towards a more effective wood procurement – TECH4EFFECT conducted field trials with cut-to-length machines

The TECH4EFFECT (Knowledge and Technologies for Effective Wood Procurement) project successfully conducted field trials near Jyväskylä, Finland, on the efficiency of cut-to-length harvesting machines during last week. The field tests were conducted by the project partners Luke, CNR-IVALSA and Ponsse in cooperation with a contractor and their operators.

The project focuses on increasing access to wood resources through more efficient silviculture and a better understanding of the business models governing the procurement of forest operations services. The project further considers increasing efficiency in forest harvesting and collection, and the reduction of soil impact from forest operations, and puts forward ways of making this a measurable and integrated part of operational efficiency. TECH4EFFECT offers the potential to revolutionize forest operations with a state-of-the-art knowledge-based efficiency development system, providing easily accessible decision support exploiting the large amount of data available in modern industrial forest management. The ambition of TECH4EFFECT is to implement such as management tool, enhanced through 4 years of intensive R&D in close cooperation with the end-users of the Efficiency Portal in 5 participating countries. It is the project’s hope that implementation will result in such obvious benefits amongst the industrial partners that its application will become widespread within the European forest sector.

The conducted study provides information aiming at reducing fuel consumption in timber harvesting and extraction. The aim of this activity and task was to map the potential fuel saving measures in cut-to-length harvester operation.

The TECH4EFFECT project has received funding under the Horizon2020 BBI (Bio-Based-Industries) programme by the European Union. The project is led by the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) and has partners from Italy, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Poland and Finland. GREBE partner Luke is leading the working package “Increasing access to wood resources“ and involved in other working packages. The total budget of the project is 5.3 million euros.

The TECH4EFFECT project objectives are relevant also for the Northern Periphery regions and GREBE partner countries.

Tech4effect

 

This project has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 720757.

Finnish roundwood harvests to a record level in 2016

 

luke 03-07-2017
Photo: Erkki Oksanen / Luke

The total amount of roundwood removed from Finnish forests for the forest industry or energy production was 70 million cubic metres in 2016. The figure was a new record and more than two million cubic metres higher than during the previous year.

According to statistics by the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), a total of 62.1 million cubic metres of roundwood were harvested for export or for the production of forest industry products. Of this volume, sawlogs accounted for 26.3 million cubic metres and pulpwood for 35.8 million cubic metres. The total volume increased by 3.3 million cubic metres or six per cent on the previous year. The industrial roundwood removals exceeded the annual average of the previous ten-year period by 9 million cubic metres or 17%.

A total of 8.2 million cubic metres of stemwood were harvested to be used as wood chips in heat and power plants or as fuelwood in residential housing. The volume decreased by 11% on the previous year, but was eight per cent higher than the average of the previous ten-year period. In addition to stemwood, logging residues and stumps were harvested from forests for energy production, totalling slightly less than three million cubic metres.

Volumes of wood to be used as wood chips are now recorded in the statistics on the basis of information reported by harvesting organisations, while in previous years the statistics were based on consumption volumes. This means that the information relating to the area where the forests are located and the right time, similarly to industrial roundwood, says Senior Statistician Jukka Torvelainen of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke).

Total roundwood removals 70 million cubic metres, more than 85% of the maximum sustainable felling potential

The forest land used for wood production has close to 2,200 million cubic metres of roundwood. Luke estimates based on the results of the National Forest Inventory 11 that 81 million cubic metres of stemwood can be harvested in a sustainable way annually in this decade. Of this volume, 70 million cubic metres or approximately 87% were harvested in 2016. However, there was considerable regional variation in the utilisation rate of felling potential. Roundwood removals exceeded the estimated annual felling potential in many regions in Southeast Finland and in Häme. The utilisation rate for spruce was higher than that for other tree species, says Torvelainen.

Roundwood drain increased to 86 million cubic metres

The total annual drain is the combination of roundwood removals, logging residue left in the forest and naturally dead trees left in the forest. In 2016, the latter two totalled just over 15 million cubic metres, causing the annual drain to reach almost 86 million cubic metres. The volume was four per cent higher than during the previous year.

The annual increment of growing stock totals approximately 110 million cubic metres. It thus exceeded removals and natural drain by almost 25 million cubic metres even last year.” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/finnish-roundwood-harvests-record-level-2016/

Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use

Finnish climate change panel

“Key researchers unanimous on the climate impacts of forests use”

(Press release of the Finnish Climate Change Panel)

Decision-makers, the media and the public have felt that there are contradictory messages on the climate impacts of the forest use. A new report by the Finnish Climate Change Panel illustrates that key Finnish researchers specialising in forestry are quite unanimous on the central claims related to the sustainability of bioeconomy. Discourse between researchers, decision-makers and enterprises, and the related advanced analyses are still necessary for creating a sustainable bioeconomy.

The Finnish Climate Change Panel surveyed researchers’ insights on the climate change impacts of forest use. Responses were assessed and processed by 28 researchers from the University of Helsinki, the Finnish Meteorological Institute, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Jyväskylä, the Finnish Environment Institute and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. The process included a joint seminar, two enquiry rounds related to claims, and approval of the document.

The main claims approved by researchers:

  • It is possible to increase wood production with forest management, but it is not possible to significantly increase the net growth of stem wood in the next decades. A significant increase can only be expected in the 2050s and after.
  • Increasing logging and wood harvesting will decrease the carbon sink and carbon storage of Finnish forests for at least forthcoming decades compared to a situation where harvesting is not increased.
  • The greatest climate benefit of wood use can be achieved with long-lasting wood-based products that preserve the carbon content of the wood in use for a long time and replace products that have a high-emission life cycle impact.
  • In the long term, replacing fossil fuels with forest energy will create climate benefits if fossil fuels are permanently replaced, forest lands are maintained and the growth of forests remains unchanged or increases in the future.
  • The model calculations representing the future development of Finnish forests produced to aid political decision-making should be completed with information such as analyses describing the different projected paths of climate change.
  • The goals set for the different ways of using forests – such as wood production, carbon sequestration, conservation and recreational use – compete with each other, so it is unlikely that these goals will be reached simultaneously.
  • A significant increase in forest harvests may lead to a clear deterioration of the forest biodiversity unless the matter is taken into account sufficiently with the practices of forest management and the forest conservation network.

According to the Climate Change Panel, the result provides a good basis for national and international discussion on the role of Nordic forests in EU policy on climate and bioeconomy. The climate-smart use of forests is an important part of creating a low-carbon economy. So that the path will be consistent and sustainable, bioeconomy decisions must be based on scientific data.” (Luke News)

The Original news article can be found from Luke´s news section under:

https://www.luke.fi/en/news/key-researchers-unanimous-climate-impacts-forests-use/

The link to the report “Main Messages from researchers concerning the climate impacts of forest utilization” can be found here: http://www.ilmastopaneeli.fi/uploads/selvitykset_lausunnot/Ilmastopaneeli_mets%C3%A4v%C3%A4itt%C3%A4m%C3%A4t_final_englanniksi_%202017.pdf