Planning and sustainable use of forest biomass in the forest-energy chain: a methodological proposal

Susanna Nocentini, Nicola Puletti, Davide Travaglini


In this paper we present a method for estimating the potential production of wood biomass in areas characterized by the presence of high forest stands. The method is based on ecological sustainability and adopts the principle of a safe minimum standard, i.e. a minimum standing volume which should always be present on the management unit. The method estimates the amount of available biomass over time and is disengaged from the classical forest regulation approach.

To apply the method it is necessary to (i) define the space-time reference, (ii) divide the study area in reference units and (iii) estimate the standing volume for each forest type. The allowable cut in each reference unit is estimated through the comparison between real standing volume and the minimum standing volume for that particular forest type.

The method has been applied to a study area located in Tuscany and characterized by Pinus pinaster stands on a total area of 5476 ha. The total biomass available over a period of 20 years has been estimated in approx. 10000 Mg, with an average annual production of 473 Mg.


bioenergetic districts; forest biomass; forest planning; safe minimum standard

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