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

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Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgements

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.

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Correspondence to Alessandro Paletto.

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Project funding: This study was supported by the European Forest Institute (EFI) within the scope of the Short Scientific Visit 2016.

The online version is available at http://www.springerlink.com

Corresponding editor: Zhu Hong.

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Deniz, T., Paletto, A. Effects of bioenergy production on environmental sustainability: a preliminary study based on expert opinions in Italy and Turkey. J. For. Res. 29, 1611–1626 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11676-018-0596-7

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