Global modeling of wood biomass supply costs in G4M and GLOBIOM

Fulvio Di Fulvio is working in the Ecosystems Services and Management Program using IIASA’s GLOBIOM and G4M models for a project designed to produce a harmonized approach to the modeling of wood production and delivery costs in the light of increasing competition for wood biomass between material and energy uses in recent years.

Fulvio Di Fulvio

Fulvio Di Fulvio

Introduction

There has been increasing competition for wood biomass between material and energy uses in recent years, and this is expected to increase in future, due to the limited availability of forest resources. Currently, there is not enough information on wood biomass supply costs from forests and dedicated plantations in different countries. At the same time, it is difficult to compare existing information from the literature that is based on single case studies. Moreover, there is no harmonized approach to the modeling of wood production and delivery costs. This research project was initiated to fill this knowledge gap and to provide information relevant to a global assessment of land use change and climate impacts using the GLOBIOM and G4M models. The first part of this project focused on creating a general framework for harmonizing forest production costs in different economies. The current project task aims to refine the general structure by using specific models and parameters for adapting the framework to specific countries and forest conditions.

Methodology

The project integrates models from the literature for assessing forest production rates, global economic indicators for adaptation of costing, and information from experts for validation. Relevant wood supply systems are selected according to specific forestry features. For each of the systems, production rates are obtained by using models from the literature applied to the characteristics of geographically explicit production and delivery sites. As costs are strongly influenced by demographic borders, the costs for operating each of the production systems are collected from experts and databases in the reference countries and adapted to each of the countries using global economic indicators. Specific indicators are used for transferring the costs for machinery, labor, and fuels, as each category is affected in different ways by the country borders. At the same time, information collection on unitary costs and operational characteristics for each of the systems is carried out through collaboration with experts in the different regions, in order to iteratively validate and refine the current modeling.

Expected results

The project is expected to deliver a global mapping of production systems within forestry, complemented by unitary costs for each of the systems in different forest conditions and countries. By integrating the potential amounts of harvestable biomass in future scenarios from G4M and GLOBIOM with the unitary costs from the current modeling, it will be possible to obtain cost supply curves for different wood biomass assortments. The cost supply curves will be used as an instrument for comparing delivered amounts, costs, and prices, and for addressing future changes in the allocation of land for forests and plantations. In addition to the costs, efficiencies will also be expressed in terms of labor demand, energy demand, and CO2 emissions. At the current stage, the modeling is being carried out at the European scale for selected forest production systems, and early results are available for supply of roundwood for material use and logging residues for energy.

Note

Fulvio Di Fulvio is an Italian citizen, who was previously studying at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), and is a Kempe Postdoctoral Scholar (Aug 2014 – Aug 2016).


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Last edited: 17 February 2015

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