Feasibility of verifying sustainable forest management principles for secondary feedstock to produce wood pellets for co-generation of electricity in the Netherlands

Mar 2018

The background for this research report is a dispute in the Netherlands in connection with the implementation of the Dutch Agreement on Energy for Sustainable Growth and a ‘Covenant’ that has been agreed between the Dutch energy industry and NGOs. The report analyses the feasibility of verifying compliance with sustainable forest management (SFM) requirements for wood pellets that are made from secondary residue feedstocks (including sawdust), through four policy scenarios for which the technical, economic and cultural feasibilities were assessed.

A second part of the report considered whether lack of SFM requirements for secondary residues will result in an increased pressure on forests. There is no evidence of wide-ranging deforestation and degradation in either SE US or the Baltic countries, or that it will be the case in the near future. Drivers of deforestation are mainly urban development, and not forest management activities, and the trend in the Baltic countries and SE US is a net increase in the forest area. Secondary residue-based products mainly rely on the existing trends in forest management, driven by timber demands for end-uses that are economically more important to the forest owner than energy.