The Biomass Atlas offers information about the potential of forest biomasses. Information about potential represents the harvesting potential of forest chips, i.e. the part of biomass that mainly is not suitable for use as commercial timber, but that can be acquired for other purposes, following valid harvesting recommendations.
Where are forest chips produced?
Side streams resulting from the felling of commercial timber (i.e. logging residues and stumps) are used as raw material for forest chips, together with small-sized trees harvested during the improvement of young stands and thinnings.
Part of the logging residues, stumps and roundwood not suitable for use as commercial timber remaining in regeneration felling areas are harvested and used in energy production. The availability of fractions generated as by-products of regeneration felling depends largely on the use of domestic logs in forest industries, but also on the willingness of forest owners to sell.
Due to the small size of the trees, felling income on the improvement of young stands and first thinnings is usually low, and small-sized trees may be sold as energy wood to improve the profitability of silviculture. Small-sized trees can be harvested, independent of the use of domestic wood in forest industries. Small-sized trees are either harvested as stems (i.e. without branches) or as whole trees with branches. Low volumes of forest chips can also be acquired from clearing the sides of roads and plots of land.
Forest chips are mainly used in heat and power production. In 2020, combined heat and power plants consumed a total of 7.6 million solid cubic metres of forest chips. Small-scale housing consumes approximately 0.6 million cubic metres of forest chips annually.
In addition to power and heat, forest chips can be used to produce, for example, pellets and liquid biofuels. They can also be used to make products with a higher degree of processing.
Properties of forest chips
The highest-quality chips are obtained from the stem. Needles on whole trees and in logging residues contain a high volume of alkali metals and chlorine, which have adverse effects when burned. Soil often sticks to stumps. The quality of chips produced from logging residues, whole trees and stumps can be improved through proper planning of the procurement chain.
Information about forest chip potential in the Biomass Atlas is based on the National Forest Inventory of the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke). The calculation of the data is described in metadata of the map layers.
Picture on top of the page: Erkki Oksanen, Luke