Key messages

Wood energy from the forest: a major source of the world’s renewable energy

  • Wood provides the world with more energy than solar, hydroelectric or wind power, accounting for roughly 40 percent of current global renewable energy supply. It plays an important role in both developing and in some industrialized countries.
  • About 50 percent of global wood production (around 1.86 billion cubic meters) is used as energy for cooking, heating, and electricity generation. For 2.4 billion people, woodfuel means a cooked and more nutritious meal, boiled water, and a warm dwelling.

Wood energy: powering economic development

  • Approximately 883 million people in developing countries are employed in the wood energy sector on a full or part-time basis.
  • Modernizing the wood energy sector can help revitalize rural economies and stimulate enterprise development – greater investment in wood energy production and advanced wood fuels can provide revenue to finance better forest management, more growing forests and more jobs.

Wood and trees: optimal urban living and lower energy bills

  • Strategically placed trees in urban areas can cool the air by between 2-8 degrees C.

Wood energy: mitigating climate change and fostering sustainable development

  • Globally, forests hold an energy content approximately 10 times that of the world’s annual primary energy consumption. They thus have significant potential as renewable resources to meet global energy demand.

Forests for energy – now and in a future global green economy

  • Greater investment in technological innovation and in sustainably managed forests is the key to increasing forests’ role as a major source of renewable energy. In this way, we invest in our sustainable future, in meeting several Sustainable Development Goals and in growing a green economy.
  • Increased areas of sustainably household and community woodlots and the use of clean and efficient wood stoves can give millions more people in developing countries access to cheap, reliable and renewable energy.

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last updated:  Friday, January 20, 2017