Experts’ Perceptions of the Effects of Forest Biomass Harvesting on Sustainability in the Alpine Region
De Meo I
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In the EU political agenda, the use of forest biomass for energy has grown rapidly and significantly, in order to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the energy dependence on fossil fuels of European member countries. The target of the EU climate and energy package is to raise the share of renewable energy consumption produced from renewable resources to 20 % in 2020 (Directive 2009/28/EC). With regards to biomass energy, the supply of forest wood biomass is expected to rise by 45 % (reference period: 2006-2020), in response to increasing demand for renewable sources. The increase of forest biomass supply could have both positive and negative effects on several forest ecosystem services (ESs) and local development. These effects should be assessed in a proper manner and taken into account when formulating management strategies. The aim of the paper is to assess the environmental, economic and social sustainability of forest biomass harvesting for energy, using the Figure of Merit (FoM) approach.