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FAO/UNEP/UN-Energy Bioenergy Decision Support Tool -
MODULE 7: Deployment and Good Practices
systems that, through appropriate management practices,
enables land users to maximize the economic and social benefts
from the land while maintaining or enhancing the ecological
support functions of the land resources.” Common technical
elements to successful SLM approaches are: minimum soil
disturbance; maintenance of good ground cover; restoration of
soil organic matter and related biological activity; integrated plant
nutrition management; better crop husbandry; development of
integrated crop/livestock/agro-forestry systems; opportunistic
fexible improved management of traditional pastoral systems,
and delineation and management of protected areas. Application
of these methods will generally improve carbon sequestration
and/or reduce GHG emissions.
Sustainable Forest Management
Forest management encompasses the administrative, legal, tech-
nical, economic, social and environmental aspects of the conser-
vation and use of forests. It implies various degrees of deliberate
human intervention, ranging from actions aimed at safeguarding
and maintaining the forest ecosystem and its functions, to favour-
ing specifc socially or economically valuable species or groups
of species for the improved production of goods and services.
SFM aims to ensure long-term availability of forest resources while
also maintaining ecosystem services such as soil and watershed
protection, and includes various practices, issues and resource
management strategies as discussed below; the emphasis here
is on the methods or approaches with some special relevance for
As a renewable energy source, wood fuels (including charcoal)
can be carbon neutral, but assuring their sustainability requires
careful socio-economic and environmental management along
the entire supply chain. International processes and certifcation
systems, such as the PEFC ( and the Forest
Stewardship Council ( have been developed
to ensure sustainable forest management and to some extent
these can be applied to wood fuel production. These processes
and schemes contain environmental and socio-economic criteria
and indicators that can be used to monitor and assess various
aspects of the production chain as well as institutional issues
such as the effectiveness of legislation and guidelines overseeing
wood fuel production.
Schemes such as FSC and PEFC are aimed at forest manage-
ment rather than wood fuels; in order to capture local impacts
and production issues, criteria and indicators focusing more
directly on wood fuels are often needed, with general principles
based on the following structure (FAO, 2010):
1. Principle 1: Clear and consistent policies, laws and institu-
tional frameworks;
2. Principle 2. Respect for human and labour rights and social
and cultural values;
3. Principle 3. Economic sustainability is ensured; and
4. Principle 4. Maintenance of landscape and site productivity
and environmental values.
The principles have been developed in further detail, and include
some differentiation for charcoal compared to wood fuels (FAO,
2010). The criteria and indicators are based in part on detailed
case studies of existing practices and markets and their soil and
environmental impacts (FAO, 2009a).
The upgrading or pre-processing of wood fuels offers a techni-
cal option for improving their sustainability where markets and
infrastructure can support such developments. Wood fuels
(including charcoal) currently account for a greater share of global
energy consumption than all other forms of “renewable” energy
combined. However, the overwhelming majority of this consump-
tion is based on wood and charcoal for traditional biomass use
in developing countries; the low effciency and poor quality of
these energy services makes it diffcult to sustain them in the long
term. At the same time, there is a growing market for modern
and effcient wood energy that has been “upgraded” in the form
of pellets, residues and various types of dedicated feedstock
supplies. There are many different modern applications and
end-uses for wood energy, ranging from high-effciency residential
woodstoves to medium-scale heat and power production using
pellets or other prepared biomass.
Planted forests account for approximately 7 percent of the global
forest area and the extent, yet they provide more than half of the
industrial roundwood produced in the world and their signifcance
is growing (Carle and Holmgren, 2008). As demand for second
generation biofuels grows due to biofuels mandates and tech-
nological advances, the planted forest sector is likely to expand
to meet the growing demand for lignocellulose, creating some
competition with demand for wood products (FAO, 2009b). FAO
led a coordinated multi stakeholder process, which resulted in the
elaboration of a set of planted forest management guidelines. The
guidelines provide decision-makers, investors and foresters with a
tool for planning, managing and monitoring institutional, political,
economic, social, cultural and environmental priorities. http://
The control of weeds, insects, diseases and other pests is critical
to maintaining planted forest health and productivity. Currently,
chemicals are widely used for such control but involve environ-
mental risks. Sound selection of species, provenances or hybrid
materials with genetic traits tolerant to these biotic agents, timely
tending, silvicultural operations, and comprehensive protection
monitoring and management can substantially reduce the risk
of insect, disease and other pest outbreaks. Many introduced or
exotic species may adapt to their new environment and regener-
ate prolifcally. It is essential that the regeneration is managed
to avoid unanticipated negative impacts on native ecosystems,
agricultural lands or fre risk.
Introduction of new species should be based on strict scientifc
testing and effective regulatory controls; various methods can
be employed to address invasive species risks. Use of pioneer
species with the potential to become invasive may be considered
in combating desertifcation or for rehabilitating severely degraded
lands. Due to their resilience and high-growth rates, these species
could be candidates for biomass production, based upon careful
analysis and monitoring of the risks and benefts. More generally,
basic principles of biosecurity should be observed when new
genetic resources are being considered.