About the project in general:
One of the main objectives during Iceland’s Presidium of the Nordic Council in 2014 will be bioeconomy. Bioeconomy involves the management and use of renewable biological resources produced by the ecosystem services both from land and water. The forest is renewable (sustainable) and creates vast variety of products and is the most important biological resource in the Nordic countries. Therefore, forests play a crucial role for the realization of a Nordic biobased economy.
The use of forest (wood) biomass provides a way to cycle carbon in the biosphere-atmosphere system and reduce the use of carbon from fossil energy. Sustainable forest management with forest biomass removal maintains the forest in a state of sustained carbon sequestration.
In the Nordic countries, especially in Finland and Sweden, the use of wood biomass has increased rapidly during the last decades. This development is partly driven by the commitment of the EU to reduce CO2 emissions. In accordance with EU requirements, all fuel must contain 10 per cent biofuel by 2020. Most of the Nordic countries have adopted a strategy of fossil independence in the energy sector by the year 2050. The fossil fuel independence is intended to rest primarily on renewable energy resources, and wood biomass is one of the central resources to realize these aims. Wood biomass is used both as raw material for industry (e.g. paper, silicon manufacturing (e.g. in Iceland and Norway) and for energy (e.g. heating and electricity).
Majority of the forest derived energy (in Finland and Sweden) is based on by-products from the forest utilisation chain. Today the wood biomass supply is mainly from conventional timber harvesting operations (harvesting residue); roots, bark, leaves, branches, limbs, tops and from thinning operations. In Sweden, fast-growing willows are cultivated intensively on agricultural lands (short rotation forestry) for wood biomass production.
The field of wood biomass utilization is rapidly developing on national, Nordic, EU and global levels. In this project we will focus on areas considered to be important at the Nordic level, related to the Bioeconomy concept.