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.

Video

Publications

The charcoal transition: greening the charcoal value chain to mitigate climate change and improve local livelihoods 16 May 2017 The overall objective of the publication is to provide data and information to allow for informed decision-making on the contribution sustainable charcoal production and consumption can make to climate change mitigation. More specifically, the publication aims to answer the following questions: - What are the climate change impacts of the current practices on charcoal production and consumption worldwide and across regions? - What is the potential of sustainable charcoal production in GHG emission reductions and how such potential can be achieved? - What are the key barriers to sustainable charcoal production and what actions are required to develop a climate-smart charcoal sector? [more]
The charcoal transition: Executive summary 16 May 2017 Executive summary from the report, charcoal transition: greening the charcoal value chain to mitigate climate change and improve local livelihoods. [more]
Incentivizing sustainable wood energy in sub-Saharan Africa 16 May 2017 Woodfuel contributes to more than half of energy consumption in 22 countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and over two-thirds of the households in Africa use wood as their main fuel for cooking, heating and water boiling. While its use is expected to further increase due to population growth and urbanization, there is hardly any systematic approach to developing a sustainable wood energy sector in the region. Absence of effective policies governing wood fuel production, trade, conversion, and consumption and the resultant indiscriminate and inefficient wood fuel collection and use contributes to continued deforestation and forest degradation. [more]
Infographic: Forests and Energy 16 May 2017 Forests are nature’s powerhouse and a vital resource for meeting the world’s renewable-energy demand. [more]
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]
Forests and energy: Key issues 14 July 2009 Forested catchments supply a high proportion of the water for domestic, agricultural, industrial and ecological needs. A key challenge faced by land, forest and water managers is to maximize the benefits that forests provide without detriment to water resources and ecosystem function. This study highlights the need for holistic management of complex watershed ecosystems taking into account interactions among water, forest and other land uses as well as socio-economic factors. [more]

 

last updated:  Tuesday, May 16, 2017