Impact of biological and landscape diversity protection on wood availability in Europe

Feb 2008

Biological and landscape diversity protection measures result in a range of possible impacts on the economic use of forest resources. With respect to wood, these impacts can be negligible – when protection does not lead to any management and exploitation restrictions – to substantial – when strict protection rules forbid an economic exploitation of forests.
Forest protection measures therefore affect the amount of wood that forest owners can harvest and the supply of wood to forest industries. Recently, forest biomass has become increasingly important for bioenergy production, leading to increasing removals of wood in several European Countries. Though there is a potential to sustainably increase wood removals in Europe, limitation on wood supply set by biodiversity and landscape protection may conflict with these developments in the long run. Several studies have attempted to assess the economic impacts of setting aside additional forests for conservation purposes both at the national, the European and global level but we are not aware of any studies that have attempted to assess the wood volumes currently affected by protection schemes across Europe. This study aims to provide an estimate of the area, wood volume and biomass affected by exploitation restriction in Europe, due to biological and landscape diversity protection schemes.

By: P. J. Verkerk, G. Zanchi, M. Lindner (European Forestry Institute)

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