, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 217-231
Date: 14 Aug 2013

Is Use of Both Pulpwood and Logging Residues Instead of Only Logging Residues for Bioenergy Development a Viable Carbon Mitigation Strategy?

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Abstract

This study adopts an integrated life-cycle approach to assess overall carbon saving related with the utilization of wood pellets manufactured using pulpwood and logging residues for electricity generation. Carbon sequestered in wood products and wood present in landfills and avoided carbon emissions due to substitution of grid electricity with the electricity generated using wood pellets are considered part of overall carbon savings. Estimated value of overall carbon saving is compared with the overall carbon saving related to the current use of pulpwood and logging residues. The unit of analysis is a hectare of slash pine (Pinus elliottii) plantation in southern USA. All carbon flows are considered starting from forest management to the decay of wood products in landfills. Exponential decay function is used to ascertain carbon sequestered in wood products and wood present in landfills. Non-biogenic carbon emissions due to burning of wood waste at manufacturing facilities, wood pellets at a power plant, and logging residues on forestlands are also considered. Impacts of harvest age and forest management intensity on overall carbon saving are analyzed as well. The use of pulpwood for bioenergy development reduces carbon sequestered in wood products and wood present in landfills (up to 1.6 metric tons/ha) relative to a baseline when pulpwood is used for paper making and logging residues are used for manufacturing wood pellets. Avoided carbon emissions because of displacement of grid electricity from the electricity generated using wood pellets derived from pulpwood fully compensate the loss of carbon sequestered in wood products and wood present in landfills. The use of both pulpwood and logging residues for bioenergy development is beneficial from carbon perspective. Harvest age is more important in determining overall carbon saving than forest management intensity.