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Legal Harvesting, Sustainable Sourcing and Cascaded Use of Wood for Bioenergy: Their Coverage through Existing Certification Frameworks for Sustainable Forest Management

The first objective of this paper was to provide an inventory of developments of certification schemes for sustainable biomass production, following recent EU legislation (both formalized and under development). One main pillar is the EU Timber Regulation for legal harvesting; a second one is the EU’s 2010 recommendations for sustainable woody biomass sourcing for energy; the third one is the EU Waste Directive. The second objective was to benchmark the coverage of this (draft) legislation, when wood product certificates for sustainable forest management (SFM) are used as proof of the related legislative requirements. We studied North America, as it is a major biomass supplier to the EU-28. Together with existing forest legislation in the US and Canada, SFM certificates are actively used to cover the EU’s (draft) legislation. However, North American forests are only partially certified with fibers coming from certified forests; these are referred to as forest management (FM) fibers. Other certified fibers should come from complementary risk assessments downstream in the supply chain (risk based fibers). Our benchmark concludes that: (a) FM fiber certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) international standards show the highest level of coverage with EU’s (draft) legislation; (b) There is insufficient coverage for risk based fibers by FSC Controlled Wood (FSC-CW), PEFC Due Diligence (PEFC-DD), or SFI-fiber sourcing (SFI-FS). Other weaknesses identified for elaboration are: (c) Alignment in definitions are needed, such as for primary forest, high carbon stock, and wood waste (cascading); (d) Imperfect mass balance (fiber check downstream) needs to be solved, as non-certified fiber flows are inadequately monitored; (e) Add-on of a GHG calculation tool is needed, as GHG life cycle reporting is not covered by any of the SFM frameworks.

Richard Sikkema , Martin Junginger , Jinke van Dam , Gerben Stegeman , David Durrant , Andre Faaij
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