Energy and forests
Biomass energy currently makes up 10% of the global primary energy mix, but this is expected to expand to 30% by 2050. In the South, biomass enterprises often dominate forest-sector activities and have massive implications for forest governance, the prospects for the growth of small forest enterprise, and climate-change adaptation and mitigation.
Global concerns about energy security offer an opportunity for pro-poor forest governance and sustainability through forest product-based energy production, but only if they allow local forest people to be involved in the development of renewable biomass energy. With technological advances, it is possible to add new energy options, such as biomass gasifiers for electricity to evolving staples such as fuelwood or more efficient kiln design for charcoal production. But investment in such newer technologies will only be possible if investors can be assured of long term sustainability in biomass supply. It is the degree to which locally controlled forestry can secure such resource guarantees that will determine whether more sophisticated approaches to biomass energy flourish to the benefit of both forests and poor energy users.
Throughout the year, we will profile books, reports, blogs and articles about energy and forests, encouraging feedback and debate. Some of the current work of the forest team is listed below.
Biomass in the red - but can we put biomass into REDD+?
Blog posting by Forest Team Leader, Duncan Macqueen
Monthly research highlight: Bundles of energy
Background information on the latest research into biomass energy by Duncan Macqueen and Sibel Korhaliller
Setting fire to outdated thinking on biomass energy
Forest Team Leader, Duncan Macqueen, blogs about the potential of biomass energy to tackle climate change, poverty and energy security
Press Release: Neglected energy source can fuel giant leap forward in developing nations
Profiling new report and opinion paper on biomass energy
Reshaping the contribution of biomass energy to poverty reduction and ecosystem services A network of partners brings together biomass experts from both North and South with specialists in monitoring likely impacts on ecosystem services (such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity and watershed protection) and poverty. The aim is to explore transition pathways from largely informal and often criminalized subsistence or semi-commercial biomass production and use towards formally inclusive, sustainable and profitable alternatives. If successful with two proposals, an initial work plan will be developed in 2010 with background papers from India, Kenya and Malawi.
For all comments and enquiries, please email the Forest Team