Case Study

Mapping the science on the GHG impact of forest bioenergy

April 2018

The Packard Foundation is committed to support science-based initiatives in relation to climate change mitigation and environmental protection.

The Foundation has been supporting activities in relation to sustainable bioenergy production through grants provided to research organisations, NGOs and think tanks engaged in evaluating the climate change implications of forest-based bioenergy.

E4tech was commissioned by the Foundation to review the most influential scientific publications dealing with carbon accounting in forest bioenergy to understand areas of convergence and divergence of opinion.

The study analysed how the methodologies and assumptions in the different publications with regard to forest types and wood material types, forestry practices (e.g. harvesting frequency), modelling tools and counterfactual scenarios affected potential climate change benefits (e.g. greenhouse gas savings, carbon payback time and carbon parity time).

The aim of the review was to provide a starting point for a dialogue to achieve greater consensus on the sustainability of different forest biomass resources. The review is currently undergoing revision, based on feedback from the authors of the selected publications.

It should be followed by a scientific dialogue to help identifying areas of consensus.    

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