Economics of Forest Biomass-Based Energy

Authored by: Pankaj Lal , Janaki R. R. Alavalapati

Handbook of Forest Resource Economics

Print publication date:  April  2014
Online publication date:  April  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415623247
eBook ISBN: 9780203105290
Adobe ISBN: 9781136253294

10.4324/9780203105290.ch18

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Abstract

Woody bioenergy is an option to reduce dependency on fossil fuels, increase the share of renewable energy and improve the sustainability of forests. Forest economists have analyzed various issues, including economic and social consequences of dramatic increases in growing, harvesting and utilizing forest feedstocks for energy purposes and the ensuing impacts on family forest landowners and other key stakeholders along the supply chains as well as the society at large. We review the problems, applications of economic techniques and ensuing results and outcomes from the literature, focusing more on the ways in which bioenergy issues have been approached by economists, the tools and techniques that have been applied, assumptions therein and the ensuing results. Some of the key research areas, such as biomass supply, public preferences for woody bioenergy, competition with traditional forest industries, land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions, are highlighted. The use of multiple approaches and tools with varied focus, planning periods, feedstock considerations, models and parameter assumptions results in outputs and outcomes that might not be amenable for comparison; some examples are biomass supply estimates, price premiums for woody bioenergy and extension of rotation age to account for ‘carbon saving’. The woody bioenergy markets offer a plethora of research opportunities.

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