Finnish Forest Research Institute  Metla
Press release 15.01.2007

Ample sources for energy wood in the Leningrad region – demand and efficient harvesting methods needed

The Leningrad region is in a good position to increase the use of energy wood; it has plenty of unutilized forest energy resources and bioenergy represents only a small fraction of energy production. The most cost-efficient energy wood is available through production chains based on residues from final fellings and sawmills. The harvesting and transportation costs in first commercial thinnings raise production costs for energy wood chips above the average selling price of wood chips.

Metla’s Joensuu Research Unit has estimated the volume and harvesting costs of energy wood in the Leningrad region. Growing stock volume in the area is approximately 825 million m 3. The annual allowable cut is almost 9.4 million m 3 and recently the actual volume of fellings has been about 8 million m 3 per year. Approximately 3.5 million m 3 of non-industrial round wood and logging residues and 0.6 million m 3 of by-products from sawmilling could be available for energy use. The energy wood procurement could be 54% higher, if the allowable cut were utilized completely and as much as 124% more, if thinnings were also carried out in full. Possibilities to increase fellings vary in different parts of the Leningrad region, and especially in the north-western section the forest resources are already utilized fairly efficiently.

In procurement chains based on commercial thinnings, for transportation distances of up to 150 km, the production costs calculated for energy wood chips were lower than the average selling price of chips in the Leningrad region. The costs calculated for procurement chains from final fellings and wood residue supplied by central processing yards and sawmills were assessed to be cost-efficient even with longer transportation distances. The harvesting and transportation costs in first commercial thinnings increase the production costs of energy wood chips above the average selling price of chips. The most cost-efficient raw material for energy use was shown to be by-products from sawmills. The calculations were made using average conditions for each chain of production for energy wood chips. Factors affecting cost efficiency include logging conditions, infrastructure, the wood chips end-user’s location and usage capacity, and in the short run, the technology used in logging companies. In particular, the infrastructure and work productivity are worse in the Leningrad region than they are in Finland . On the other hand, energy wood collecting can be concentrated on stands having better conditions than an average logging area.

The Metla Joensuu Research Unit’s ongoing project “Possibilities for Energy Wood Procurement and Use in Northwest Russia ” is part of the ClimBus research programme of the Finnish Funding Agency of Technology and Innovation (Tekes). Komatsu Forest , Stora Enso Oyj and UPM-Kymmene have also provided funding for the project. I n the final phase of the project, prospects for Finnish technology expertise will be surveyed especially in the northwest of Russia.

Publication: Gerasimov, Y., Goltsev, V., Ilavský, J., Tahvanainen, T. & Karjalainen, T. (2006). Assessment of energy wood resources in the Leningrad region. Metla Working Papers 37. 80 p.

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