Based on contributions from
Živan Veselič, Jurij Begus and Andrej Grum, Slovenia Forest Service, and
Nike Krajnc, Slovenia Forestry Institute
The WISDOM analysis has already proved its usefulness in supporting local planning, a function that the geodatabase can provide thanks to its fine geographic resolution.
A concrete case was that of five municipalities that intend to explore the possibility of developing their bioenergy potential, including the conversion of pre-existing structures (i.e. abandoned mines) to the storage of wood chips and to the production of wood pellets for the market and for local district heating stations.
The area concerned is located some 30 km Northwest of Ljubljana (Figure 19) and includes the Municipalities of Gorenja vas-Poljane, Žiri, Dobrova-Polhov Gradec, Škofja Loka and part of Logatec.
The SFS was approached by these communities with specific questions on the potential sustainable production capacity of woody biomass within their territory, the current use, the additional amounts available and other critical questions regarding the feasibility of their project.
Using the WISDOM geodatabase and integrating it with specific aspects of local relevance, the SFS could provide, without delay, a comprehensive and detailed report enriched by many tables and 15 thematic maps . The aspects covered in the report included forestry data on wood assortments; their distribution and physical accessibility; productivity in non-forest areas; and analysis of wood consumption for heating in households by KO and municipality. SFS also prepared a questionnaire to be filled in by all local wood processing plants for the acquisition of reliable data on the availability and current use of wood residues.
Location of Municipalities for which a detailed analysis of woody biomass availability for bioenergy development was carried out. The two inserted maps exemplify two of the many thematic layers produced: mean annual wood increment/hectare (top map) and balance between the quantities of available wood according to allowable cut and wood consumption in (bottom map).
The knowledge generated by the Project has greatly enhanced the capacity of the Slovenia Forestry Service to cope with wood energy issues and, ultimately, to contribute to the formulation of policies and to the planning of field activities.
At present, the proposed Wood Energy Strategy, based on SWEIS and WISDOM data, represents the main reference for the inclusion of wood energy components in the National Forestry Program and for the National Program for Rural Development, both under preparation.
Field activities are now oriented to the promotion of woody biomass harvesting in private forests. These include the promotion of forest owners associations, extension, training of forest owners and SFS Staff on new technologies and other specific wood energy aspects.
Preparation of a new Slovenian Wood Biomass internet portal
In response to the growing interest on bioenergy in the country, the Slovenia Forestry Institute is currently working on a thematic internet portal that provides easy access to state-of-the-art information on all aspects of woody biomass.
The WISDOM geodatabase will be the source of a very important feature of this new internet portal, which will be dedicated to the presentation of the best statistical and cartographic data available for the 149 municipalities of Slovenia. Users will be able to check data on wood biomass potentials (supply side) and present use (demand side) at the level of local municipality (občina level). The aggregation of the original KO data (2696 units) at municipality level (192 units) was carried out by SFS.
A special section of the portal will be dedicated to the ranking of local communities according to suitability for wood energy development under different management perspectives. The priorities for the forest manager, for the local administrator or for the energy planner are not necessarily the same. The portal allows for combining the rich data set in different ways will adequately represent the cross-sectoral character of wood energy and will promote the dialogue among stakeholders.
The target groups for this internet portal are local communities, rural development agencies, forestry and energy agencies, private sector and the state.
Most of the problems and opportunities that the wood energy sector presents in Slovenia are common to the countries of East and Central Europe. Actions oriented to the development of this sector are clearly needed in all these countries and the lessons learned in Slovenia may represent a useful and potentially replicable experience.
In order to promote a regionally coordinated action, the Forestry Department of FAO organized the first working meeting on “Supporting Wood Energy Planning in Eastern Europe”, at FAO headquarters in Rome on 16 March 2005, as a side event of the 2005 FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO), attended by representatives of 13 countries and 3 international organizations. The meeting presented the main findings and results of the FAO project “Supply and Utilization of Bioenergy to Promote Sustainable Forest Management (TCP/SVN/2901)” in Slovenia and examined possible dissemination of knowledge, based on that project, to other Central and Eastern European countries (CEEC). The meeting also discussed a project proposal aimed at enhancing the capacity of Forestry Services of CEEC to plan sustainable utilization of forest biomass for energy and identified follow up actions.
The second working session was hosted by the Slovenia Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food (MAFF) in collaboration with FAO, and organized by the Slovenia Forest Service. The international workshop, under the title “Development of Woody Biomass for Energy in Central and Eastern European Countries” was held from 9 to 11 November 2005 in Bled, Slovenia.
Delegates from 12 countries participated to the three-days meeting: Estonia, Czech Republic, Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, Sweden, Italy, Latvia and Slovenia.
The participants agreed on the need for a coordinated action and further refined the elements of a proposed regional program to be submitted to potential donors for financial and institutional support.
A study on current availability and use of wood residues from wood processing industries was carried out at the end of 2004 by the Slovenian Forestry Institute to complete and consolidate the information about this important aspect of the Slovenia wood energy sector. In fact, industrial wood residues are important source of woody biomass for larger biomass systems, along with forest harvesting residues.
The results were processed by municipality (občina) and subsequently handed over to SFS for insertion into the WISDOM geodatabase.
To estimate the potential of wood residues in Slovenia SFI carried out a questionnaire survey among wood processing industry in Slovenia. The questionnaire was send to all 2335 companies which were registered for wood processing activities in summer 2004. By end 2004 valid answers were received from 326 companies.
The annual amount of wood processed in these 326 companies was around 1.300.000 m3 and the annual amount of wood residues produced in these companies was over 250 000 t.
According to this preliminary set of questionnaires, it appeared that the majority of wood residues, i.e. 39%, were classified as clean (uncontaminated) wood, 31% as sown dust, 11% as sown powder and 5% as contaminated wood wastes. It is important to note that these industries are already using almost half of all wood residues to cover their own need for energy (Figure 20).
Figure 20: Present use of wood residues (N=326 answers)
In order to maintain long-term effectiveness of WISDOM and SWEIS as planning tools, it is recommended that data collection be continued and further developed by Slovenia. Future data collection should include the following information:
• fuelwood consumption time series for the household sector, or related indicators; this information will allow for the assessment of consumption trends and the elaboration of possible short-term development scenarios;
• complete data on the production of wood residues by forest industries and on woodfuel consumption and energy production by biomass plants.
• accessibility factors that limit the full exploitation of the country’s wood energy potential from a physical, legal and economic perspective13.
As mentioned before, the official national statistics on woodfuels are incomplete and do not reflect the true role that wood energy plays in both forestry and energy sectors. This is a major limitation in the development of this sector. It is therefore strongly recommended that the Statistical Office of Slovenia define, in collaboration with forestry and energy authorities, a set of wood energy variables and that specific attention be given to the production and consumption of individual woodfuels in future statistical surveys of both forestry and energy sectors.
13 Elements of physical accessibility, linked to skid tracts, distance from roads and slope, were already included in the WISDOM geodatabase (analysis of physical accessibility done by Živan Veselič and Rok Pisek)