Title: Carrying capacity assessment of forest resources: enhancing environmental sustainability in energy production at local scale
Authors: MARTIRE SalvatoreCASTELLANI ValentinaSALA SERENELLA
Citation: RESOURCES CONSERVATION AND RECYCLING vol. 94 p. 11-20
Publisher: ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC79477
ISSN: 0921-3449
URI: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921344914002341
http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC79477
DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2014.11.002
Type: Articles in periodicals and books
Abstract: Wood fuels are recognized as a crucial energy source whose sustainable use should be ensured. To ensuresustainability, the calculation of the annual available biomass is one of the bases of forest management.The novelty of our study stem from an extended evaluation of the carrying capacity for taking into accountdifferent site-specific – as well condition-specific – aspects usually neglected. In the case of natural mixedforests, local management plans define the criteria to be adopted in the land management identify themain functions of the forest plots. However, for ensure sustainable forest management, ecological andtechnical local constraints should be assessed in details in order to quantify wood potentially available. Asa standardized procedure for this comprehensive wood availability is missing, the present study proposea GIS-based decision support system (DSS) and methodology for calculating the biomass availabilitywhile supporting the local resource planning. In particular, we focus on the environmental sustainabilityof bio-energy production. In fact, applying the DSS, it is possible to calculate three indicators: operationalcarrying capacity (OCC), chip potential (CP) and technical potential (TP). Those indicators are related,respectively, to the availability of wood from forests according to local plans criteria, the potential of woodchips production, and the comparison of total available biomass with current uses. The DDS considersthe actual uses of the resource, supporting local planners in properly assess the forestry sector and itspossible developments. Two case studies on alpine mountain areas are presented and discussed in lightof contributing to face the challenge of energy planning at local scale. The DDS allow calculating thenumber of chip fueled boilers which could be installed in the areas, using local resource below theircarrying capacity. DSS application helps highlighting some challenges in resource planning and use atlocal scale.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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