Key messages

  • Wood from forests and trees outside of forests are the single most important source of renewable energy, providing over 9% of global total primary energy supply.
  • More than two billion people depend on wood energy for cooking and or heating, particularly in households in developing countries.
  • Woodfuels are a very important forest product and arise from multiple sources including wooded land and trees outside forests, co-products from wood processing, post-consumer recovered wood and processed wood-based fuels. 
  • Wood energy is also an important emergency backup fuel. Societies at any socio-economic level will switch easily back to wood energy when encountering economic difficulties, natural disasters, conflict situations or fossil energy supply shortages.
  • Today wood energy has entered into a new phase of high importance and visibility with climate change and energy security concerns.    



Forestry for a low-carbon future - Integrating forests and wood products in climate change strategies 30 August 2016 Following the introduction, Chapter 2 provides an overview of mitigation in the forest sector, addressing the handling of forests under UNFCCC. Chapters 3 to 5 focus on forest-based mitigation options – afforestation, reforestation, REDD+ and forest management – and Chapters 6 and 7 focus on wood-product based options – wood energy and green building and furnishing. The publication describes these activities in the context of UNFCCC rules, assessing their mitigation potential and economic attractiveness as well as opportunities and challenges for implementation. Chapter 8 discusses the different considerations involved in choosing the right mix of options as well as some of the instruments and means for implementation. Chapter 8 also highlights the co-benefits generated by forest-based mitigation and emphasizes that economic assessment of mitigation options needs to take these benefits into account. The concluding chapter assesses national commitments under UNFCCC involving forest mitigation and summarizes the challenges and opportunities [more]
Assessing woodfuel supply and demand in displacement settings - A technical handbook 30 August 2016 This manual presents a methodology for assessing woodfuel supply and demand at the level of the displacement camp through the collection of primary data in the field and remote sensing analysis. The methodology uses a multi-sectoral approach to assess the energy-related needs and challenges of people in both displaced and host communities. The first part of the manual presents the methodology for assessing demand for woodfuel, which is structured around four sequential steps. Each step provides guidance and tools for collecting data and information, based on the specific targeted area and population. The second part of the manual describes the methodology for assessing the woodfuel supply of the targeted area, based on a combination of field measurements and temporal change analysis of very high resolution satellite imagery for the different land cover classes that provide woody biomass. [more]
Woodfuels handbook 4 November 2015 This handbook offers information on wood biomass for both producers and consumers and is adapted for the market needs and problems identifed in Southeast Europe. It was prepared by wood biomass expert, Dr. Nike Krajnc, as part of the FAO project “Support to Implementation of the Forest Policy and Strategy in Kosovo”, and supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. [more]
What woodfuels can do to mitigate climate change 24 November 2010 Most climate change strategies emphasize reducing greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy use and switching to energy sources that are less carbon intensive than fossil fuels. This publication explores the scope, potential and implications for using woodfuels to replace fossil fuels and thereby contribute to climate change mitigation. The publication will be of interest to specialists and policy-makers in forestry, climate change and renewable energy, as well as to forest managers, students and general audiences interested in learning more about the role of forests in energy production and the resulting mitigation potential. [more]
Criteria and indicators for sustainable woodfuels 21 July 2010 In many developing countries, woodfuels are still commonly used for household cooking and heating and are also important for local processing industries. In many developed countries, wood-processing industries often use their wood by-products for energy production. In some countries, notably the Nordic countries, forest residues are increasingly used for industrial-scale electricity generation and heating. Several developing countries have enormous potential to produce energy from forests and trees outside forests, for both domestic use and export. However this potential is not often properly reflected in national energy-development strategies. This publication sets out principles, criteria and indicators to guide the sustainable use of woodfuel resources and the sustainable production of charcoal. It is designed to help policy- and decision-makers in forestry, energy and environment agencies, non-governmental and other civil-society organizations and the private sector ensure that the woodfuel sector reaches its full potential as an agent of sustainable development [more]


last updated:  Wednesday, May 11, 2016