Bioenergy

Five men standing in a forest having a discussion.

The Montreal Process criteria and indicators provide a framework by which to monitor, assess and report on the sustainability of forest biomass production.

Globally the demand for forest biomass as an energy resource is increasing. The Montreal Process provides a set of criteria and indicators that allows policy developers to make informed decisions about the sustainable utilization of forest residues, forest by-products, and forest fuel crops in meeting current and future energy demands.

Harvesting of biomass for energy production and the development of forest products for bioenergy has the potential to increase demands on forest resources beyond those of traditional harvesting of forest products. The issue of certification of forest products for bioenergy has been raised in the context of these increased demands.

In Japan, the number of boilers in timber processing plants has increased by 35% in the last five years. This increase has contributed to the reduction of wood wastes in the plants as well as contributing to the mitigation of climate change through avoided emissions from fossil fuels.

Through public-private consortiums the Chilean government is strongly supporting the development of biofuels while recognizing the significant potential of forests for firewood supply as domestic energy used in rural areas.

In Canada, bioenergy's share of the total energy used by the sector increased from 47% in 1980 to 57% in 2005 while the use of energy sourced from fossil fuels has declined. As a result of fuel switching, along with improvements to energy efficiency, the Canadian forest sector's fossil fuel GHG emissions dropped by 6% between 1980 and 2005, despite a 21 % increase in energy use in the sector and a 50% increase in pulp and paper production.

China’s State Forestry Administration released a 2008 research report on forestry bioenergy. This report describes the key field of forestry bioenergy development and estimates the potential of raw materials and land resources. The report provides guidelines for decision-making, managing and exploring for sustainable development of bioenergy in China.

Through reporting on the Montreal Process criteria and indicators, Mexico has identified that firewood provides 80% of the domestic energy used in rural areas. As such, the Mexican Government has initiated a program to provide 600,000 fuel efficient stoves by 2012. The provision of new stoves will result in a decrease of 50% in the consumption of fuel wood. This decrease will result in less environmental impact through firewood collection, and better quality of life.’

Using the Montreal Process criteria and indicators as a foundation, International Energy Agency (IEA) Bioenergy Task 31 “Biomass Production for Energy from Sustainable Forestry”, in conjunction with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) is developing a set of criteria and indicators specifically for sustainable wood-fuel production.