Guidelines for harvesting forest biomass for energy: A synthesis of environmental considerations

Dalia Abbas, Dean A Current, Michael Phillips, Richard Rossman, Howard M Hoganson, Kenneth N. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Interest in the utilization of forest biomass for energy is growing. A search into existing forest biomass harvesting and regeneration guidelines was carried out to identify how biomass energy can be environmentally sustainable. Findings have shown that there are only a few guidelines that specifically address harvesting and regenerating biomass for bioenergy or other bio-based products. Of these few, there are guidelines developed for dedicated energy plantations such as the Scottish Agricultural College guidelines, as well as some Finnish and Swedish guidelines recommending management practices for both timber and biomass extraction. Most of the existing small woody material guidelines emphasize the retention, disposal, redistribution, burning and mulching of biomass material on-site in a more detailed manner than forest and timber management guidelines. This study synthesizes and classifies existing biomass-related guidelines based on an in-depth literature review of existing guidelines in Europe and North America involved with biomass energy harvesting. Biomass guidelines are classified according to those applicable to systems producing biomass commercially for energy versus those that are applicable to systems managing this material for non-commercial purposes. Biomass guidelines are analyzed with respect to how they address issues of sustainability related to soil, water and habitat. Recommendations are offered for developing guidelines for biomass harvesting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4538-4546
Number of pages9
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011


  • Biomass
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Habitat
  • Hydrology
  • Soil


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