Global Bioenergy Partnership

Towards sustainable modern wood energy development

Woman cooking using traditional woodfuel, which causes unhealthy smokes

Wood remains the primary source of fuel for 2.3 billion people, but traditional woodfuel use can have negative impacts on the environment, as well as human health and livelihoods. To be sustainable, woodfuel needs to be responsibly sourced and processed to increase its efficiency and reduce its emissions. 

The Activity Group on Sustainable modern wood energy development, led by FAO, promotes the adoption of sustainable management practices and efficient technologies for the production and use of modern wood energy and improved solid biofuels that can replace traditional energy forms, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pressure on forest resources. 

The Activity Group is currently focusing on building concensus on carbon accounting for wood energy.

Related Publications
cover page of the working paper

This working paper focuses on the outcomes of three dialogues on wood energy and forest landscape restoration organized in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) at International (Global Landscape Forum Accra 2019) and at National level (in Togo and Ghana) .

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As a first step to highlight the important linkages between wood energy and forest landscape restoration, this collection presents examples from around of the world of projects, policies and approaches that aim to improve the sustainability of wood energy for a positive contribution to FLR. The collection includes country examples from Australia, Canada, Ghana, Lebanon, Kenya, Niger, Sri Lanka, Togo, USA and Zambia, as well as a regional example from SSA.

cover page

The report presents several successful practices that allow for an ecologically sustainable production of wood energy, with positive impacts on the incomes of rural populations in developing countries.

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This report presents 24 indicators of sustainability regarding the production and use of modern bioenergy, to monitor and report on the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainable development. The GBEP Sustainability Indicators (GSIs) are a relevant, practical, science-based tool that can inform policy-makers and other stakeholders in countries seeking to develop their bioenergy sector to help meet national goals of sustainable development.

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Related videos
Carbon accounting for wood energy: understanding wood energy data and model estimates

Ensuring accurate data is essential for the responsible use of wood energy and maximizing its benefits. This webinar enhances our understanding of global...

Alternatives to woodfuel for restoring forests landscapes

2.3 billion people globally rely on woodfuel as their primary energy source for cooking and heating, but its unsustainable use can drive deforestation. Finding...

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Related news
Man chopping wood. Kenya
Woodfuel remains the primary source of fuel for 2.3 billion people, and traditional woodfuel use can have negative sustainability impacts, especially on forest landscapes. We need alternatives. 
Brazilian Cerrado©FAO Anne Branthomme
Sustainable wood energy value chains benefit forest land restoration, and, parallelly, sustainable forest management fosters the production of biomass and wood energy. Such duality was the topic of the session...
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Related events
Bangkok (Thailand), Hybrid Event, 24/10/2023 - 27/10/2023

In 2023, the 10th Bioenergy Week focuses on sustainable bioenergy integration in food production chains, aiding the development of bioenergy policies in Asia-Pacific.

Virtual Event, 12/09/2023

This webinar aims to improve the understanding and explore the challenges regarding wood energy data at the global level, as well as showcase the general methods that can be used to estimate fuels used for household cooking.

Hybrid Event, 09/05/2023

The workshop aimed to support understanding of the various carbon accounting methodologies for wood energy, how they are applied in practice and policies, and the data requirements and gaps. The ultimate...

Virtual Event, 17/04/2023

The webinar looked at two case studies in Ghana and Indonesia, where woodfuel use is prevalent. The case studies highlighted how alternatives to woodfuel can reduce the unsustainable harvesting of wood, thereby helping to restore forest landscapes and support sustainable livelihoods.

Related projects