Research ArticleBIOENERGY

Forests: Carbon sequestration, biomass energy, or both?

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Science Advances  25 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 13, eaay6792
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay6792

Abstract

There is a continuing debate over the role that woody bioenergy plays in climate mitigation. This paper clarifies this controversy and illustrates the impacts of woody biomass demand on forest harvests, prices, timber management investments and intensity, forest area, and the resulting carbon balance under different climate mitigation policies. Increased bioenergy demand increases forest carbon stocks thanks to afforestation activities and more intensive management relative to a no-bioenergy case. Some natural forests, however, are converted to more intensive management, with potential biodiversity losses. Incentivizing both wood-based bioenergy and forest sequestration could increase carbon sequestration and conserve natural forests simultaneously. We conclude that the expanded use of wood for bioenergy will result in net carbon benefits, but an efficient policy also needs to regulate forest carbon sequestration.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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