The Activity Group 4 "Towards sustainable modern wood energy development"
The Activity Group 4 "Towards sustainable modern wood energy development", led by FAO, was established in December 2013. The Activity Group initially focused on sustainable production and use of wood energy for household energy access and productive local uses - primarily in developing countries.
Stocktaking paper "Towards sustainable modern wood energy development"
In 2015, AG4 produced the stock taking paper "Towards sustainable modern wood energy development" on successful initiatives on solid biomass development in developing countries – including lessons learned and sustainability impacts.
Woody biomass for forest landscape restoration and sustainable livelihoods
In 2017, it was decided that the AG4 should expand its focus to include the interactions between wood energy and forest landscape restoration (FLR). The Information Note, presented at the GBEP meetings in November 2017, explains that wood energy value chains and FLR are inherently interlinked, and the importance of understanding the opportunities for sustainable wood energy production and use to contribute positively to FLR.
Opportunities are present at many stages of the wood energy value chain:
- Biomass production: sustainable forest management; establishment of community forests; conservation of protected areas; plantations; production of biomass on currently degraded lands; and agroforestry.
- Biomass transformation stage: improved feedstocks; and use of wood ‘wastes’.
- Improved bioenergy technologies: improved methods of charcoal production and the use of fuelwood in homes with improved cookstoves; provision of modern energy services through e.g. the production of electricity in cogeneration plants or the production of syngas through gasification technologies.
- Use of by-products: e.g. use of biochar as a soil amendment.
In the context of this theme, a number of reports and communication materials have been published:
This infographic prepared by GBEP provides a basic overview of gasification and describes the benefits that it can provide to communities in remote areas. It was developed in the context of the collaboration between FAO/GBEP, GIZ and IEA Bioenergy on FLR and wood energy.
The report, published in June 2020, collects examples from across the world on how improving the sustainability of wood energy value chains can reduce pressures on natural forests through better management practices and improved technologies; it brings together examples from across the value chain, from biomass production and transformation to the production and use of bioenergy and its by-products. The report includes country examples from Australia, Canada, Ghana, Lebanon, Kenya, Niger, Sri Lanka, Togo, USA and Zambia, as well as a regional example from sub-Saharan Africa; common lessons learned from these examples are also identified.
In the context of the collaboration between FAO/GBEP, GIZ and IEA Bioenergy on FLR and wood energy, GBEP (along with both collaborators and with generous funding from GIZ) has organized and guided a number of international and national dialogues on this topic. The paper presenting the main outcomes of the stakeholder consultations performed during three of these dialogues – international interactive session at the Global Landscape Forum (GLF) held in Accra (Ghana) in October 2019 and two “National dialogues on Wood Energy and Forest Landscape Restoration” in Togo and in Ghana in January 2020 – was published in June 2020.
An additional final report has also been developed to summarize all outputs and outcomes of the project and is available here.
GBEP Activity Group 4 - GBEP Side Event at EUBCE 2021 - “Biomass for landscape restoration: how can the bioeconomy contribute to the UN Decade on ecosystem restoration?”
The Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) has been investigating some of the positive impacts of the production and use of biomass for energy to contribute to landscape restoration. This workshop has showcased some promising examples from around the world, in order to draw out similarities and understand the factors that contribute to the enabling environment for these practices to be replicated elsewhere.
Webinar: Positive Relationships between Sustainable Wood Energy and Forest Landscape Restoration - 21 May 2020
The wood energy value chain and Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) are inherently interlinked, and it is important to understand the opportunities for sustainable wood energy production and use to contribute positively to FLR. This webinar introduces this important thematic area and presents two examples of positive linkages between wood energy and FLR. These case studies have been selected to highlight the potential interactions along the entire wood energy value chain – in this case, biomass harvesting, and bioenergy production and use of by-products.
GBEP Activity Group 4 - National Dialogue on Wood Energy and Forest Landscape Restoration in Ghana - Accra, 27-28 January 2020
With the aim to bring together relevant stakeholders from the wood energy and the FLR sector, GBEP has organized a "National dialogue on Wood Energy and Forest Landscape Restoration". The dialogue has been held at the FAO Regional Office for Africa in Accra and has been a great opportunity for the participants to share knowledge and discuss possible synergies amongst the two sectors that may significantly contribute to reduce the pressure on Forest Landscapes while providing sustainable energy services for cooking, heating and power generation.
GBEP Activity Group 4 - National Dialogue on Wood Energy and Forest Landscape Restoration in Togo - Lomé, 22-23 January 2020
Currently, 80% of the energy used in Togo comes from forests and national consumption of wood energy, around 8.3 million cubic meter of wood per year (REDD +, 2018). The balance between supply and demand is already in deficit and this deficit will widen further over the years. Dependence on traditional biomass requires a lot of land: supplying a household for a year can require more than half a hectare of land (IPCC, 2019). In this framework GBEP has organized a "National dialogue on Wood Energy and Forest Landscape Restoration". The dialogue has been held in Lomé, Togo and has been a great opportunity for the participants to share knowledge and discuss possible synergies amongst the two sectors that may significantly contribute to reduce the pressure on Forest Landscapes while providing sustainable energy services for cooking, heating and power generation.
GBEP Activity Group 4 - Interactive Session at the Global Landscape Forum Accra 2019. 3rd Dialogue on Forest Landscape and Bioenergy. Focus on key success factors in Africa - Accra International Center, 30 October 2019
The event represents a follow up to the 1st and the 2nd Dialogues on Forest Landscape Restoration and Bioenergy held respectively, on Dec 1st, 2018 in Bonn during the “2018 Global Landscape Forum”1 and in Lisbon, on May 28th 2019, during the “27th European Biomass Conference & Exhibition”2.
The final goal of these series of dialogues is to facilitate raising awareness and exchange of ideas/information among stakeholders from both Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) and Bioenergy communities, with a view to intensify opportunities for collaboration, and to develop a joint agenda for action around sustainable Bioenergy and FLR.
GBEP Activity Group 4 - Side Event at the European Biomass Convention and Exhibition (EUBCE) "2nd dialogue on contribution of a sustainable wood energy production to forest landscape restoration (FLR) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): Focus on Africa-EU collaboration" - Lisbon, 28 May 2019
Event hosted by IEA Bioenergy, GBEP and GIZ, in collaboration with IRENA and ETA Florence.
This was the second in a series of dialogue that began in Bonn in December 2018 (see below) on the relevance and opportunity of sustainable wood energy production and use as a contribution to forest landscape restoration (FLR).
GBEP Activity Group 4 - GBEP Side Event at the Global Landscape Forum on "Contribution of a sustainable wood energy production approach to Forest Landscape Restoration in Sub-Saharan Africa" - Bonn, 1-2 December 2018
The event aimed to discuss the relevance and opportunity of sustainable wood energy production and use as a contribution to forest landscape restoration (FLR) with stakeholders across sectors and especially between FLR and bioenergy stakeholders. The focus of the event was Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as both challenges and opportunities for sustainable woody bioenergy to contribute to FLR - and vice versa - are concentrated in countries in this region. Currently, there is a lack of collaboration between those requiring wood energy and those concerned with enhancing FLR. This event sought to bring stakeholders from both groups together into dialogue to explore the views of different stakeholders, and to develop a joint agenda for action around sustainable wood energy and FLR.
GBEP Activity Group 4 - ECOWAS Workshop on Sustainable Wood Energy Management - Cotonou (Benin), 9-11 May 2016
The workshop brought together technical and policy advisers in the energy and forestry sectors in public, private and civil society organisations from the ECOWAS member states with the objective to share information and enhance capacities of actors within the wood energy value-chain. Discussions covered the present state of the affairs with regards to the unsustainable use of wood fuels and how to introduce sustainability in its value- chain; raise awareness and enhance capacities on shifting to and expanding the sustainable use of wood fuels while incorporating efficient and modern approaches in the entire value-chain.The event was co-organized by the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Global Bioenergy Partnership (GBEP) in partnership with the Ministry of Energy, Water and Mines of Benin, and with the support of the Austrian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, as well as of GIZ.
Webinar : "Towards sustainable modern wood energy development" - 24 June 2015
Building on the findings and recommendations spelled out in the report "Toward sustainable modern wood energy development" , the webinar discussed about the main challenges to sustainably manage the wood energy sector in developing countries and shared stories of success in coping with these challenges including technological advancements in the conversion of wood into charcoal, regulatory frameworks, and tax systems.