Energy districts based on agricultural and forest biomass between economic and environmental sustainability

Susanna Nocentini


Energy districts based on the sustainable use of agricultural and forest biomass must be dimensioned to the effective productive potential and at the same time guarantee environmental conservation and sustainable development of local populations. Defining methods and approaches for planning such districts is the aim of the National Research Project “Sustainable agriculture and forestry energy districts”, funded by the Italian Ministry of University and Research (PRIN2007). Results of this Project, together with three significant examples of energy district planning at different territorial scales, have been presented at a Workshop held in Florence on February 10th, 2011. Innovative methods for estimating available andecologically sustainable production of forest and agricultural biomass based on geographic information systems are one of themain outputs of this Project. The overall results clearly point out that the use of agricultural and forest biomass for energy production can produce positive effects both from an environmental and socioeconomic point of view only if energy districts are planned taking into account also other local traditional resource uses. In the Italian context, energy production chainsusing forest and agricultural biomass should be “short” and closely linked to the actual energy needs of each specificterritorial context and to its real productive potential.


agricultural and forest biomass; energy districts; land planning.

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