Extraction of logging residues for bioenergy : effects of operational methods on fuel quality and biomass losses in the forest

Sammanfattning: Wood products play a key role in the transformation to a more sustainable society based on renewable bio-based resources, together with the positive effects on climate mitigation by replacing fossil fuels. However, to increase the use of forest fuel in practice it is important to understand the effects of handling and storage on its quality and removal of nutrients from the forest. This thesis addresses these effects with special focus on a comparative evaluation of the traditional dried-stacked with “new” and to some extent more controversial fresh-stacked methods for extraction of logging residues from Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst).The results indicate that a normal extraction of logging residues will leave at least 20% of logging residues at the clear-felled area, in accordance with Swedish Forest Agency recommendations. However, the results also indicate that the ambition of the dried-stacked method to leave the majority of the needles well spread over the clear-felled area does not meet these recommendations. In fact, the harvesting operation is more important than the extraction method, with respect to how much logging residues (nutrients) being left in the forest. The results also show that the quality of fuel yielded by the two handling methods differs only to minor extent, indicating that other factors have stronger effects, where “dried-stacked” and “fresh-stacked” logging residues from different clear-felling areas is often similar. Generally, logging residues stored over summer (regardless method), seem to provide sufficiently dry forest fuel, with a needle content of about 5–10%. There is a clear correlation between drying and effective loss of needles from twigs, but the loss does not necessarily mean that the needles will remain in the forest.  However, needle color (green or brown) is not a strong indicator for a reduction in needle content.Acceptance of the fresh-stacked method would provide opportunities for the development of new technologies, more efficient use of machinery throughout the whole year, reduced costs, shorter lead times and increased amounts of logging residues extracted from each clear-felled area. This is mainly because it would enable extraction at optimal times from a logistical, financial and/or forestry perspectives.Written in English with summary and conclusion in Swedish.

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