BioEnergy Research

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 733–747 | Cite as

Effects of Forest Management on Total Biomass Production and CO2 Emissions from use of Energy Biomass of Norway Spruce and Scots Pine

  • Johanna Routa
  • Seppo Kellomäki
  • Harri Strandman


The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of forest management on the total biomass production (t ha-1a-1) and CO2 emissions (kg CO2 MWh-1) from use of energy biomass of Norway spruce and Scots pine grown on a medium fertile site. In this context, the growth of both species was simulated using an ecosystem model (SIMA) under different management regimes, including various thinning and fertilization treatments over rotation lengths from 40 to 120 years in different pre-commercial stand densities. A Life Cycle Analysis/Emission calculation tool was employed to assess the CO2 emissions per unit of energy from the use of biomass in energy production. Furthermore, the overall balance between the CO2 uptake and emission (carbon balance) was studied, and the carbon neutrality (CN) factor was calculated to assess environmental effects of the use of biomass in energy production; i.e., how much CO2 would be emitted per unit of energy when considering direct and indirect emissions from forest ecosystem and energy production. In general, the total annual biomass production for both species was highest when management with fertilization and high pre-commercial stand density (4000–6000 trees ha-1) was used. In the case of Norway spruce, the highest annual biomass production was obtained with a rotation length of 80–100 years, while for Scots pine a rotation length of 40–60 years gave the highest annual production. In general, the CO2 emissions decreased along with an increasing rotation length. The reduction was especially large if the rotation length was increased from 40 years to 60 years. Scots pine produced remarkably smaller net CO2 emissions per year (on average 29%) than Norway spruce over all different densities and rotation lengths. The value of the CN factor was highest if a rotation of 100 years was used for Norway spruce stands and a rotation of 120 years for Scots pine. The CO2 emission per energy unit was substantially less than that from the use of coal, which was used as reference to assess environmental effects of the use of biomass in energy production. The use of higher density of pre-commercial stand than that currently recommended in the Finnish forestry, together with timely thinning and fertilization, could increase the total biomass production, but also simultaneously decrease the net CO2 emissions from the use of energy wood.


Energy biomass Forest management Rotation length Fertilization CO2 emissions Substitution 



The Graduate School in Forest Sciences, the School of Forest Sciences at the University of Eastern Finland, and the Finnish Forest Research Institute (Eastern Finland Regional Unit, Joensuu) are acknowledged for support to this study. Furthermore, this work was supported through the Finland Distinguished Professor Programme (FiDiPro, No. 127299-A5060-06) of the Academy of Finland, and the “Motive” research programme (EU Grant Agreement 226544) of the European Union. Dr. David Gritten is greatly thanked for revising the language of this paper.


  1. 1.
    Aarnio T, Martikainen PJ (1995) Mineralization of C and N and nitrification in Scots pine forest soil treated with nitrogen fertilizers containing different proportions of urea and its slow-releasing derivative, ureaformaldehyde. Soil Biol Biochem 27:1325–1331CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aber J, Nadelhoffer K, Steudler P, Melillo J (1989) Nitrogen saturation in northern forest ecosystems. BioScience 39:378–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Aber J, McDowell W, Nadelhoffer K, Magill A, Berntson G, Kamakea M et al (1998) Nitrogen saturation in temperate forest ecosystems. Hypotheses revisited. BioScience 48:921–934CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Alakangas E (2005) Properties of wood fuels used in Finland. VTT Processes, Project report PRO2/P2030/05. Technical Research Centre of Finland, JyväskyläGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Anon (2006) Recommendations for forest management in Finland. Hyvän metsänhoidon suositukset. Forestry Development Centre Tapio, Metsäkustannus Oy, 100 pp (In Finnish) English summary available at
  6. 6.
    Berg S, Karjalainen T (2003) Comparison of greenhouse gas emissions from forest operations in Finland and Sweden. Forestry 76:3271–3284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bergh J, Linder S, Lundmark T, Elfving B (1999) The effect of water and nutrient availability on the productivity of Norway spruce in northern and southern Sweden. For Ecol Manag 119:51–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Börjesson P (2000) Economic valuation of the environmental impact of logging residue recovery and nutrient compensation. Biomass Bioenergy 19:137–152CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cajander AK (1926) The theory of forest types. Acta For Fenn 29:1–108Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cherubini F, Bird ND, Cowie A, Jungmeier G, Schlamadinger B, Woess-Gallasch S (2009) Energy- and greenhouse gas-based LCA of biofuel and bioenergy systems: Key issues, ranges and recommendations. Resour Conserv Recycl 53:434–447CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Consoli F, Allen D, Boustead I, Fava J, Franklin W, Jensen A et al (1993) Guidelines for Life-Cycle Assessment: a "Code of Practice" Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry workshop reportGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Eriksson E, Gillespie AR, Gustavsson L, Langvall O, Olsson M, Sathre R et al (2007) Integrated carbon analysis of forest management practices and wood substitution. Can J For Res 37:671–681CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hakkila P (1966) Investigations on the basic density of Finnish pine, spruce and birch wood. Commun Inst For Fenn 61:1–98Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hakkila P (1975) Kanto ja juuripuun kuoriprosentti, puuaineen tiheys ja asetoniuutteiden määrä. Summary: Bark percentage, basic density and amount of acetone extractives in stump and root wood. Folia For 224:1–14Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hakkila P (1979) Wood density survey and dry weight tables for pine, spruce and birch stems in Finland. Commun Inst For Fenn 96:1–59Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Heikkilä J, Siren M, Äijälä O (2007) Management alternatives of energy wood thinning stands. Biomass Bioenergy 31:255–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hynynen J, Ojansuu R, Hökkä H, Siipilehto J, Salminen H, Haapala P (2002) Models for predicting stand development in MELA System. Finn For Res Inst Res Pap 835:116Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Hynynen J, Ahtikoski A, Siitonen J, Sievänen R, Liski J (2005) Applying the MOTTI simulator to analyse the effects of alternative management schedules on timber and non-timber production. For Ecol Manag 207:5–18CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hyytiäinen K, Ilomäki S, Mäkelä A, Kinnunen K (2006) Economic analysis of stand establishment for Scots pine. Can J For Res 36:1179–1189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Hämäläinen J, Oijala T, Rajamäki J (1992) Cost calculation model for site preparation. Metsämaan muokkauksen kustannuslaskentamalli. Metsäteho, Helsinki, p 13 (in Finnish)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ingerslev M, Mälkönen E, Nilsen P, Nohrstedt H-Ö, Oskarsson H, Raulund-Rasmussen K (2001) Main findings and future challenges in forest nutritional research and managementin the Nordic countries. Scand J For Res 16:488–501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    IPCC, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2000) IPCC special report: land use, land use change, and forestry — summary for policymakers. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 20 ppGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Karjalainen T, Asikainen A (1996) Greenhouse gas emissions from the use of primary energy in forest operations and long-distance transportation of timber in Finland. Forestry 69:215–228CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kellomäki S, Väisänen H, Hänninen H, Kolström T, Lauhanen R, Mattila U et al (1992) Sima: A model for forest succession based on the carbon and nitrogen cycles with application to silvicultural management of the forest ecosystem. Silva Carelica 22:1–91Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Kellomäki S, Kolström M (1993) Computations on the yield of timber by Scots pine when subjected to varying levels of thinning under changing climate in southern Finland. For Ecol Manag 59:237–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Kellomäki S, Strandman H, Nuutinen T, Peltola H, Korhonen KT, Väisänen H (2005) Adaptation of forest ecosystems, forests and forestry to climate change. (FINADAPT Working Paper 4). Finnish Environment Institute Mimeographs 334, HelsinkiGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kellomäki S, Peltola H, Nuutinen T, Korhonen KT, Strandman H (2008) Sensitivity of managed boreal forests in Finland to climate change, with implications for adaptive management. Phil Trans R Soc 363:2341–2351Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kilpeläinen A, Alam A, Strandman H, Kellomäki S (2011) Life cycle assessment tool for estimating net CO2 exchange of forest production. GCB Bioenergy 3(6):461–471CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Kolström M (1998) Ecological simulation model for studying diversity of stand structure in boreal forests. Ecol Model 111:17–36CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Kolström M (1999) Effect of forest management on biodiversity in boreal forests: a model approach. Dissertation. University of Joensuu. Metsätieteellisen tiedekunnan tiedonantoja 86, Joensuu, p 29Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kuitto P-J, Keskinen S, Lindroos J, Oijala T,Rajamäki J, Räsänen T et al (1994) Mechanized cutting and forest haulage. Tiedotus Metsäteho, Helsinki. Report 410, p 47 ISBN 951-673-139-2 (in Finnish with English summary).Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Laitila J, Ala-Fossi A, Vartiamäki T, Ranta T, Asikainen A (1996) Kantojen noston ja metsäkuljetuksen tuottavuus [Productivity of stump lifting and forest haulage]. Metlan työraportteja Working Papers of the Finnish Forest Research Institute ) 46, 26. Helsinki (in Finnish).Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Lattimore B, Smith C, Titus B, Stupak I, Egnell G (2009) Environmental factors in woodfuel production: opportunities, risks, and criteria and indicators for sustainable practices. Biomass Bioenergy 33:1321–1342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Lindfors L-G, Christiansen K, Hoffmann L, Virtanen Y, Junttila V, Hanssen O-J et al (1995) Nordic guidelines on Life-Cycle Assessment. Nord 1995:20. Copenhagen, Nordic Council of Ministers.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Luiro J, Kukkola M, Saarsalmi A, Tamminen P, Helmisaari H-S (2009) Logging residue removal after thinning in boreal forests: long-term impact on the nutrient status of Norway spruce and Scots pine needles. Tree Physiol 30:78–88PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Maljanen M, Jokinen H, Saari A, Strömmer R, Martikainen PJ (2006) Methane and nitrous oxide fluxes, and carbon dioxide production in boreal forest soil fertilized with wood ash and nitrogen. Soil Use Manage 22:151–157CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Martikainen PJ (1984) Nitrification in two coniferous forest soils after different fertilization treatments. Soil Biol Biochem 16:577–582CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Martikainen PJ (1985) Numbers of autotrophic nitrifiers and nitrification in fertilized forest soil. Soil Biol Biochem 17:245–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Martikainen PJ, Aarnio T, Taavitsainen V-M, Päivinen L, Salonen K (1989) Mineralization of carbon and nitrogen in soil samples taken from three fertilized pine stands: long-term effects. Plant Soil 114:99–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Melillo JM, Reilly JM, Kicklighter DW, Gurgel AC, Cronin TW, Paltsev S et al (2009) Indirect emissions from biofuels: how important? Science 326:1397–1399PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    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 4:536–542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Mäkinen T, Soimakallio S, Paappanen T, Pahkala K, Mikkola H (2006) Greenhouse gas balances and new business opportunities for biomass-based transportation fuels and agrobiomass in Finland. Liikenteen biopolttoaineiden ja peltoenergian kasvihuonekaasutaseet ja uudet liiketoimintakonseptit Espoo 2006. VTT Tiedotteita . Research Notes 2357. 134 s. (In Finnish).Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Nohrstedt H-Ö (2001) Response of coniferous forest ecosystems on mineral soils to nutrient additions: a review of Swedish experiences. Scand J For Res 16:555–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Oren R, Ellsworth D, Johnsen K, Phillips N, Ewers B, Maier C et al (2001) Soil fertility limits carbon sequestration by forest ecosystems in a CO2-enriched atmosphere. Nature 411:469–472PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Owens J (1997) Life-cycle assessments: Constraints on moving from inventory to impact assessment. J Ind Ecol 1:37–50CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    PASW statistics, SPSS for Windows, version 17.0, SPSS, Chicago, ILGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Peng C, Jiang H, Apps M, Zhang Y (2002) Effects of harvesting regimes on carbon and nitrogen dynamics of boreal forests in central Canada: a process model simulation. Ecol Model 155:177–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Pretzsch H, Grote R, Reineking B, Rötzer TH, Seifert ST (2008) Models for forest ecosystem management: a European perspective. Ann Bot 101:1065–1087PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Repo A, Tuomi M, Liski J (2011) Indirect carbon dioxide emissions from producing bioenergy from forest harvest residues. GCB Bioenergy 3:107–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Repola J (2006) Models for vertical wood density of Scots pine, Norway spruce and birch stems, and their application to determine average wood density. Silva Fennica 40:673–685Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Routa J, Kellomäki S, Peltola H, Asikainen A (2011) Impacts of thinning and fertilization on timber and energy wood production in Norway spruce and Scots pine: scenario analyses based on ecosystem model simulations. Forestry 84:159–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Routa J, Kellomäki S, Kilpeläinen A, Peltola H, Strandman H (2011) Effects of forest management on the carbon dioxide emissions of wood energy in integrated production of timber and energy biomass. GCB Bioenergy 3:483–497CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Saarsalmi A, Mälkönen E (2001) Forest fertilization research in Finland: a literature review. Scand J For Res 16:514–535CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Sathre R, Gustavsson L, Bergh J (2010) Primary energy and greenhouse gas implications of increasing biomass production through forest fertilization. Biomass Bioenergy 34:572–581CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Schlamadinger B, Spitzer J (1994) CO2 mitigation through bioenergy from forestry substituting fossil energy. In: Chartier P, Beenackers AACM, Grassi G (eds) Biomass for energy, environment, agriculture and industry. Proceedings of the 8th European Biomass Conference.Vienna, Austria, 3–5 October 1994, Volume 1, pp 310–321Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Schlamadinger B, Spitzer J, Kohlmaier GH, Lüdeke M (1995) Carbon balance of bioenergy from logging residues. Biomass Bioenergy 8:221–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Searchinger T, Heimlich R, Houghton RA, Dong FX, Elobeid A, Fabiosa J et al (2008) Use of US croplands for biofuels increases greenhouse gases through emissions from land-use change. Science 319:1238–1240PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Statistics Finland. 2005. Available: (in Finnish)
  59. 59.
    Stupak I, Asikainen A, Jonsell M, Karltun E, Lunnan A, Mizaraite D et al (2007) Sustainable utilization of forest biomass for energy-possibilities and problems: policy, legislation, certification, and recommendations and guidelines in the Nordic, Baltic, and other European countries. Biomass Bioenergy 31:666–684CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Södeström B, Bååth E, Lundgren B (1983) Decrease in soil microbial activity and biomass owing to nitrogen amendments. Can J Microbiol 29:1500–1506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Tamm C (1991) Nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems, questions of productivity, vegetational changes and ecosystem stability. Ecological studies 81. Springer, Berlin, p 115Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Udo de Haes H, Heijungs R, Suh S, Huppes G (2004) Three strategies to overcome the limitations of life-cycle assessment. J Ind Ecol 8:19–32CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Vitousek P, Howarth R (1991) Nitrogen limitation on land and in the sea — how can it occur? Biogeochemistry 13:87–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Wall A (2008) Effect of removal of logging residue on nutrient leaching and nutrient pools in the soil after clearcutting in a Norway spruce stand. For Ecol Manag 256:1372–1383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Wihersaari M (2005) Greenhouse gas emissions from final harvest fuel chip production in Finland. Biomass Bioenergy 28:435–443CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Väkevä J, Pennanen O, Örn J (2004) Fuel consumption of timber trucks. Puutavara–autojen polttoaineen kulutus. Metsätehon raportti 166, Helsinki, p 32 (in Finnish).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johanna Routa
    • 1
  • Seppo Kellomäki
    • 2
  • Harri Strandman
    • 2
  1. 1.Finnish Forest Research InstituteJoensuuFinland
  2. 2.University of Eastern Finland, School of Forest SciencesJoensuuFinland

Personalised recommendations