Effects of bioenergy production on environmental sustainability: a preliminary study based on expert opinions in Italy and Turkey

Original Paper


In future decades, initiatives on biomass-based energy development in Europe should reduce fossil fuel dependence and help to combat climate change as required by the conference of the parties 21. In this context, forest biomass can play a key role within the bioenergy sector due to its high growth potential. The use of forest biomass for energy has positive and negative effects on other ecosystem services, on stand characteristics, and on forest management practices. The aim of this study is to analyse the effects of forest bioenergy production on six ecosystem services (biodiversity, recreation, landscape aesthetics, carbon sequestration, soil erosion protection, water quality). These effects have been assessed by 80 experts in two countries (Italy and Turkey), considering two different forest management practices (clear-cutting of coppices and woody residue removal after felling in high forests). The results show that coppice clear-cutting has negative effects on almost all ecosystem services according to the experts’ opinions. The highest negative effects are on landscape aesthetics and soil protection. The effects of woody residue removal on biodiversity, carbon sequestration, soil erosion protection, and water quality are considered negative by the experts, while the effects on recreation activities and landscape aesthetics are considered positive. The highest negative effects of this forest management scenario are on soil protection and biodiversity. The experts’ opinions about the effects of forest management practices on ecosystem services can provide information to understand the environmental sustainability of bioenergy development in future years.


Forest biomass Bioenergy Forest management Ecosystem services 



This study was supported by the European Forest Institute (EFI) within the scope of the Short Scientific Visit 2016. The authors would like to thank EFI and all experts that have filled out the questionnaire.


  1. Alkan H, Korkmaz M, Eker M (2014) Stakeholders’ perspectives on utilization of logging residues for bioenergy in Turkey. Croat J For Eng 35(2):153–165Google Scholar
  2. Balest J, Hrib M, Dobsinska Z, Paletto A (2016) Analysis of the effective stakeholders’ involvement in the development of National Forest Programmes in Europe. Int For Rev 18(1):13–28Google Scholar
  3. Batı Akdeniz Kalkınma Ajansı (BAKA) (2012) Biyokütle Sektör Raporu, Batı Akdeniz Kalkınma Ajansı (West Mediterranean Development Agency), Official Web site:
  4. Berndes G, Hansson J (2007) Bioenergy expansion in the EU: cost-effective climate change mitigation, employment creation and reduced dependency on imported fuels. Energ Policy 35(12):5965–5979CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Berndes G, Abt B, Asikainen A, Cowie A, Dale V, Egnell G, Lindner M, Marelli L, Parè D, Pingoud K, Yeh S (2016) Forest biomass, carbon neutrality and climate change mitigation. Report “From Science to Policy 3”. European Forest Institute (EFI), Joensuu, p 28Google Scholar
  6. Bernetti I, Fagarazzi C, Fratini R (2004) A methodology to analyse the potential development of biomass-energy sector: an application in Tuscany. For Pol Econ 6:415–432CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beurskens LWM, Hekkenberg M (2011) Renewable energy projections as published in the national renewable energy action plans of the European Member states. ECN and EEA, Brussels, p 244Google Scholar
  8. Briner S, Huber R, Bebi P, Elkin C, Schmatz DR, Gret-Regamey A (2013) Trade-offs between ecosystem services in a mountain region. Ecol Soc 18(3):35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brockerhoff EG, Jactel H, Parrotta JA, Quine CP, Sayer J (2008) Plantation forests and biodiversity: oxymoron or opportunity? Biodivers Conserv 17:925–951CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dorren LKA, Berger F, Imeson AC, Maier B, Rey F (2004) Integrity, stability and management of protection forests in the European Alps. For Ecol Manag 195:165–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Edwards DM, Jay M, Jensen FS, Lucas B, Marzano M, Montagné C, Peace A, Weiss G (2012) Public preferences across Europe for different forest stand types as sites for recreation. Ecol Soc 17:27–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ehrlich PR, Ehrlich AH (1981) Extinction: the causes and consequences of the disappearance of species. Random House, New York, pp 72–98Google Scholar
  13. Eid T, Brunner A, Søgaard G, Astrup R, Tomter S, Løken Ø, Eriksen R (2010) Estimation, availability and production of tree biomass resources for energy purposes—a review of research challenges in Norway. INA Fagrapport 15, Report of the Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, p 91Google Scholar
  14. Ericsson K, Nilsson LJ (2006) Assessment of the potential biomass supply in Europe using a resource-focused approach. Biomass Bioenerg 30:1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. European Biomass Association (2013) European bioenergy outlook 2013. European Biomass Association, Brussels, p 120Google Scholar
  16. European Commission (EC) (2012) Innovating for sustainable growth: a bioeconomy for Europe. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the regions [Commission Communication; COM (2012)60], p 9Google Scholar
  17. European Environment Agency (EEA) (2007) Environmentally compatible bio-energy potential from European forests. European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, p 53Google Scholar
  18. FAO (2008) Forest and water. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Forestry Paper 155, Rome, p 78Google Scholar
  19. Farinelli U (2004) Renewable energy policies in Italy. Energ Sust Develop 8(1):58–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Ferranti F (2014) Energy wood: a challenge for European forests potentials, environmental implications, policy integration and related conflicts. EFI technical report 95, Joensuu, p 158Google Scholar
  21. Framstad E, Bergland H, Gundersen V, Heikkila R, Lankinen N, Peltola T, Risbol O, Weih M (2009) Increased biomass harvesting for bioenergy-effects on biodiversity, landscape amenities and cultural heritage. Nordic Council of Ministers, Copenhagen, p 161Google Scholar
  22. General Directorate of Forestry (GDF) (2009) Yenilenebilir Enerjide Orman Biyokütlesinin Durumu. Orman Genel Müdürlüğü, Biyoenerji Çalışma Grubu, Ankara, p 135Google Scholar
  23. Gokçol C, Dursun B, Alboyaci B, Sunan E (2009) Importance of biomass energy as alternative to other sources in Turkey. Energ Policy 37:424–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Grassi G (1999) Modern bioenergy in the European Union. Renew Energ 16(1–4):985–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Grilli G, Curetti G, De Meo I, Garegnani G, Miotello F, Poljanec A, Vettorato D, Paletto A (2015) Experts’ perceptions of the effects of forest biomass harvesting on sustainability in the alpine region. South East Eur For 6(1):77–95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Grilli G, Balest J, De Meo I, Garegnani G, Paletto A (2016) Experts’ opinions on the effects of renewable energy development on ecosystem services in the Alpine region. J Renew Sust Energ 8(1):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hagan JM, Grove SL (1999) Coarse woody debris. J For 97(1):6–11Google Scholar
  28. Haines-Young R, Potschin M (2013) Common international classification of ecosystem services (CICES). Report EEA framework contract no. EEA/IEA/09/003, p 19Google Scholar
  29. Harmon ME, Cnomack K, Smith BG (1987) Coarse woody debris in mixed-conifer forests, Sequoia-National Park, California. Can J For Res 17(10):1265–1272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Hastik R, Basso S, Geitner C, Haida C, Poljanec A, Portaccio A, Vršcaj B, Walzer C (2015) Renewable energies and ecosystem service impacts. Renew Sust Energ Rev 48:60–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Ingold T (2000) The perception of the environment. Routledge, London, p 465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. International Energy Agency (IEA) (2002) Sustainable production of woody biomass for energy. IEA Bioenergy, Rotorua, ExCo 2002:03, p 11Google Scholar
  33. International Energy Agency (IEA) (2016) Bioenergy and biofuels, International Energy Agency Official Website.
  34. Italian Bioeconomy Strategy (2016) BIT bioeconomy in Italy. Italian Bioeconomy Strategy, Rome, p 60Google Scholar
  35. Jankovska I, Straupe I, Brumelis G, Donis J, Kupfere L (2014) Urban forests of Riga, Latvia—pressures, naturalness, attitudes and management. Baltic For 20(2):342–351Google Scholar
  36. Jarchow ME (2012) Tradeoffs in ecosystem services of prairies managed for bioenergy production. Graduate theses and dissertations, Iowa State University. Paper 12619, p 151Google Scholar
  37. Kaygusuz K, Türker MF (2002) Biomass energy potential in Turkey. Renew Energy 26:661–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kellomäki S, Kilpeläinen A, Alam A (2013) Forest bioenergy production. Management, carbon sequestration and adaptation. Springer, New York, p 268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kezik U, Acar HH (2016) The potential ecological effects of forest harvesting on forest soil. Eur J For Eng 2(2):87–95Google Scholar
  40. Klessmann C, Held A, Rathmann M, Ragwitz M (2011) Status and perspectives of renewable energy policy and deployment in the European Union—What is needed to reach the 2020 targets? Energ Policy 39(12):7637–7657CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Kraigher H, Jurc D, Kalan P, Kutnar L, Levanic T, Rupel M, Smolej I (2002) Beech coarse woody debris characteristics in two virgin forest reserves in southern Slovenia. Zbor Gozd Lesar 69:91–134Google Scholar
  42. Lasserre B, Chirici G, Chiavetta U, Grafì V, Tognetti R, Drigo R, Di Martino P, Marchetti M (2011) Assessment of potential bioenergy from coppice forests trough the integration of remote sensing and field surveys. Biomass Bioenerg 35:716–724CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Lazdiņš A, Thor M (2009) Bioenergy from pre-commercial thinning, forest infrastructure and undergrowth—resources, productivity and costs. In: Annual 15th international scientific conference proceedings “research for rural development 2009”. Latvia University of Agriculture, Jelgava, 20–22 May 2009, pp 147–154Google Scholar
  44. Longo L (2003) Habitat trees and other actions for birds. Proceedings of the International Symposium, Mantova, 29th–31st May 2003, pp 49–50Google Scholar
  45. Mantau U, Saal U, Prins K, Steierer F, Lindner M, Verkerk H, Eggers J, Leek N, Oldenburg J, Asikainen A, Anttila P (2010) EUwood—real potential for changes in growth and use of EU forests. Final Report, Hamburg, p 160Google Scholar
  46. Marongiu S, Cesaro L, Florian D, Tarasconi L (2012) The use of FADN accounting system to measure the profitability of forestry sector. Italian J For Mt Environ 67(3):253–261Google Scholar
  47. Mavsar R (2011) Balancing water for ecosystems, goods and services, and people. In: Birot Y, Gracia C, Palahi M (eds) Water for forest and people in the Mediterranean Region-A challenging balance, What Science Can Tell Us. European Forest Institute, Joensuu, pp 92–98Google Scholar
  48. McKay H (2011) Short rotation forestry: review of growth and environmental impacts. The Research Agency of the Forestry Commission, Alice Holt Lodge, p 211Google Scholar
  49. McKechnie J, Colombo S, Chen J, Mabbe W, Maclean HL (2011) Forest bioenergy or forest carbon? assessing trade-offs in greenhouse gas mitigation with wood-based fuels. Environ Sci Technol 45:789–795PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Melin Y, Petersson H, Egnell G (2010) Assessing carbon balance trade-offs between bioenergy and carbon sequestration of stumps at varying time scales and harvest intensities. For Ecol Manag 260(4):536–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Merganičová K, Merganič J, Svoboda M, Bače R, Šebeň V (2012) Deadwood in forest ecosystems. In: Blanco JA (ed) Forest ecosystems—more than just trees. Zagreb, InTech, pp 81–108Google Scholar
  52. Meyer MA, Chand T, Priess JA (2015) Comparing bioenergy production sites in the southeastern US regarding ecosystem service supply and demand. PLoS ONE 10(3):e0116336PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) (2005) Millennium ecosystem assessment, ecosystems and human well-being synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC, p 137Google Scholar
  54. Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (2008) Framework programme on forestry sector. Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, Rome, p 130Google Scholar
  55. Ministry of Economic Development (2010) National renewable energy action plan. Ministry of Economic Development, Rome, p 210Google Scholar
  56. Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (2014) National renewable energy action plan. Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Ankara, p 75Google Scholar
  57. Mooney H, Ehrlich P (1997) Ecosystem services: a fragmentary history. In: Daily GC (ed) Nature’s services. Island Press, Washington, DC, pp 11–19Google Scholar
  58. Motta R, Haudemand JC (2000) Protective forests and silvicultural stability. Mt Res Dev 20:74–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Nijnik M, Slee B, Nijnik A (2014) Biomass production: impacts on other ecosystem services. In: Pelkonon P, Mustonen M, Asikainen A, Egnell G, Kant P, Ledue S, Petenella D (eds) Forest bioenergy for Europe, what science can tell us, vol 4. European Forest Institute, Joensuu, pp 82–89Google Scholar
  60. Nikodinoska N, Mattivi M, Notaro S, Paletto A (2015) Stakeholders’ appraisal of biomass-based energy development at local scale. J Renew Sust Energ 7(2):1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Notaro S, Paletto A (2012) The economic valuation of natural hazards in mountain forests: an approach based on the replacement cost method. J For Econ 18:318–328Google Scholar
  62. Notaro S, Paletto A, Raffaelli R (2009) Economic impact of forest damage in an Alpine environment. Acta Silv Lignaria Hung 5:131–143Google Scholar
  63. Panichelli L, Gnansounou E (2008) GIS-based approach for defining bioenergy facilities location: a case study in Northern Spain based on marginal delivery costs and resources competition between facilities. Biomass Bioenerg 32:289–300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Paolucci P (2003) Mammiferi e uccelli in un habitat forestale della pianura padana: il bosco della fontana. In: Proceedings of the international symposium. Compagnia delle Foreste Editore, Mantova, 29th–31st May 2003, pp 11–13Google Scholar
  65. Pastorella F, Paletto A (2016) Tourists’ perception of deadwood in mountain forests. Ann For Res 59(2):311–326Google Scholar
  66. Radu S (2006) The ecological role of deadwood in natural forests. Environ Eng Sci 3:137–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Robbins A (2016) How to understand the results of the climate change summit: conference of Parties21 (COP21) Paris 2015. J Public Health Pol 37(2):129–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sacchelli S, De Meo I, Paletto A (2013) Bioenergy production and forest multifunctionality: a trade-off analysis using multiscale GIS in a case study in Italy. Appl Energ 104:10–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Schaefer DR, Dillman DA (1998) Development of a standard e-mail methodology: results of an experiment. Public Opin Quart 62(3):378–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Schaich H, Plieninger T (2013) Land ownership drives stand structure and carbon storage of deciduous temperate forests. For Ecol Manag 305:146–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Schlaghamersky J (2003) Saproxylic invertebrates of floodplains, a particularly endangered component of biodiversity. In: Proceedings of the international symposium. Compagnia delle Foreste Editore, Mantova, 29th–31st May 2003, pp 15–18Google Scholar
  72. Schuldt BA, Totten JW (1994) Electronic mail vs. mail survey response rates. Market Res 6:1–7Google Scholar
  73. Sheehan KB, Hoy MG (1999) Using e-mail to survey internet users in the United States: methodology and assessment. J Comput Med Commun 4:3Google Scholar
  74. Stolton S, Dudley N (2007) Managing forest for cleaner water for urban populations. Unasylva 229(58):39–43Google Scholar
  75. Tognetti R, Cocozza C, Marchetti M (2013) Shaping the multifunctional tree: the use of Salicaceae in environmental restoration. iForest 6:37–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Türkoğlu T, Gökoğlu C (2017) Determination of fuel properties of wood pellet’s made from Turkish Red Pine forests harvesting residues (in Turkish). Süleyman Demirel University. J Nat Appl Sci 21(1):58–63Google Scholar
  77. Tyrväinen L, Silvennoinen H, Kolehmainen O (2003) Ecological and aesthetic values in urban forest management. Urban For Urban Gree 1:135–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Verkerk PJ, Mavsar R, Giergiczny M, Lindner M, Edwards D, Schelhaas MJ (2014) Assessing impacts of intensified biomass production and biodiversity protection on ecosystem services provided by European forests. Ecosyst Serv 9:155–165CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Vitousek P, Mooney H, Lubchenco J, Melilo J (1997) Human domination of earth’s ecosystems. Science 277:494–499CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Weible R, Wallace J (1998) Cyber research: the impact of the internet on data collection. Market Res 10:19–25Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forest Economics, Faculty of ForestryIstanbul UniversityBahçeköyTurkey
  2. 2.Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l’analisi dell’economia agraria - Research Centre for Forestry and Wood (CREA)TrentoItaly

Personalised recommendations