Key Aspects of Forest Woody Biomass Flows within the Canadian Forest Value Chain

Authored by: Luc LeBel , Reino Pulkki , Riadh Azouzi , Denis Cormier

Forest Value Chain Optimization and Sustainability

Print publication date:  September  2016
Online publication date:  December  2016

Print ISBN: 9781498704861
eBook ISBN: 9781315371696
Adobe ISBN:


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Woody biomass usually refers to wood fiber available as residues. It is usually divided into three groups: primary, secondary, and tertiary residues. Primary residues are by-products of conventional forest operations. Secondary residues are by-products of industrial processes, including bark, sawdust, shavings, and chips. Tertiary residues are by-products of demolition, construction, and packaging processes. Materials that can be obtained from early thinning and from stands killed by disturbances such as fire, disease, or insects can also be considered as forest biomass (see Figure 11.1). In this chapter, the focus is on the primary residues. They are interchangeably referred to as “forest woody biomass” (FWB). The main sources of FWB are the logging residues. These materials historically had a low value and could not be sold for traditional forest products (namely pulp, lumber, wood-based panels, and engineered wood products). They are organic materials that if used in a sustainable manner have the potential to improve the economic viability of forest products firms and contractors, as well as the economic sustainability/health of rural communities, while improving air quality, substituting for nonrenewable resource extraction, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Note that Figure 11.1 positions forest biomass with respect to other wood-based raw materials used for fuel production. Basically, these are fast growing species grown in short rotations. Forest biomass remains the prevalent source of wood-based energy (Röser et al., 2008).

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