Sustainability assessment of forest bioenergy options in multiple-use landscapes

Xi Pang shows the outcomes of her YSSP project, in which she connected existing models for calculating timber, pulp, and bio-energy production, with new methods for biodiversity, carbon stock, and recreation evaluation.


Forests provide essential ecosystem services (ES) that are of direct benefit to humans. These include timber for housing, the air we breathe, and space for recreation. They also provide bio-energy and help to reduce global warming. At the same time, they are home to living resources, including wild species. The multiple uses of forests do not always complement each other, and in many cases there are conflicts. Declining biodiversity is an example of over extraction of biomass.


The analysis was conducted in two management scenarios: business as usual (BAU) and continuous cover forestry (CCF), with a case study of a county in southern Sweden. Six forest ecosystem services were selected in the trade-off analysis: bio-energy, timber, pulp, biodiversity, carbon stock and recreation. LandSim was used for projecting forest growth in 100 years. Timber, pulp and bio-energy production were calculated by Heureka. Ecological profile was used to simulate structure changes of habitat. Models for carbon stock and recreation were built based on literature review and previous studies.

Result and Conclusion

In the BAU scenario, forest resources are dominated by timber, pulp, and bio-energy production. Biodiversity is seriously threatened (Figure 1). If 30% of the forest is left for CCF, timber, then pulp and bio-energy may not achieve the same amount of production as in the BAU; however, all the six ecosystem services maintain positive growth. Especially for biodiversity, the synergy gained would be a 365% increase compared with the base year 2010 (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Trade-offs in BAU scenario.

Figure 2: Trade-offs in CCF scenario.


Xi Pang, of the Environmental Management and Assessment research group, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, is a Swedish citizen. She was funded by IIASA's Swedish National Member Organization and worked in the Ecosystems Services and Management (EMS) Program during the YSSP.

Please note these Proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.

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Last edited: 19 August 2015


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