Woodfuel: social and economic dimensions

How will expansion of the woodfuel sector change society?

Summary

Processed woodchips for woodchip boiler, Kielder

Using wood as a renewable source of energy has the potential to deliver considerable social and economic benefits as well as mitigate climate change. Forest Research made economic assessments and engaged with stakeholders along the woodfuel supply chain to examine the social and economic challenges and propose solutions to using trees, woods and forests in an effective woodfuel sector.

Key findings

  • Initially modest but increasing changes to woodlands and forests will occur over the long-term
  • The growing use of woodfuel will have a significant effect on people’s “sense of place” (and purpose) regarding forests
  • Given the historical role of forest wood as a source of fuel, biomass energy production has the potential to re-forge connections between people, communities and woodlands as places of energy
  • This evolving sense of place is likely to occur at a local level
  • The visibility of biomass energy production in the landscape is likely to raise consciousness about energy consumption and challenge established ideas about energy
  • The impact of biomass production on the sense of place of a forest should be considered alongside other social, economic and environmental benefits when evaluating woodfuel projects

Reports and presentations

Funders and partners

Commissioned and funded by the Forestry Commission.

Status

2009-2012

Contact

Norman Dandy