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Nonindustrial private forest owners' opinions to and awareness of energy wood market and forest-based bioenergy certification - results of a case study from Finnish Karelia

Abstract

Background

Nonindustrial private forest owners (NIPFs) in Finland are important stakeholders of forest management and roundwood supply decisions. Their role will also be significant to supply energy wood to meet Finland's target for renewable energy in the future. The main objectives of this study were to explore the opinions and awareness of the Finnish NIPFs related to the energy wood market and forest-based bioenergy certification issues in Finland and their relevance for future bioenergy policies.

Method

A questionnaire-based survey was conducted among the NIPFs in Finnish Karelia (N = 79).

Results

The Finnish NIPFs considered price as the key deciding factor in harvesting and selling of energy wood. The present low price of energy wood compared to pulpwood did not motivate them to increase harvesting and selling of energy wood from thier forest estates. The majority of them appeared to be unaware of the Criterion 5 under the PEFC group forest certification scheme, which provides guidance on harvesting of biomass from forests for energy production in Finland. However, they expected that forest-based bioenergy certification schemes should be easy to follow, develop energy wood market, and promote environmentally sound forest management practices in Finland. Private forest owners' associations and personal information letters emerged as the most favored means to disseminate information on forest-based bioenergy certification to the Finnish NIPFs.

Conclusions

The study explored the opinions and awareness of the Finnish NIPFs related to energy wood market and forest-based bioenergy certification issues. The conclusions derived from the study might be highly policy-relevant concerning the development of energy wood market and related certification schemes. Future studies should include larger sample size for increasing the representativeness of the findings.