Wood chips are, along with logs, wood pellets and related sawmill waste, one of the four sources of wood boilers. The recent development of projects consuming large quantities of wood chips has highlighted the major challenge that represents the mobilization of forest resources and integrated management of this sector for a successful woody biomass value chain. The issues of mobilization, organization and integrated upstream-downstream management go far beyond purely technical aspects. This is why the stakeholders in France work together since 2014 to provide a global response.
They consider indeed that the development of wood energy, and especially of the woodchip, is only possible when each of the parties involved has a cross-understanding of a set of questions on energy, forestry, technology, economy and land management. During the last decade, the production of wood chips, as an activity in its own right, has considerably modified the organization of work in the forest: the emergence of new dedicated machines, new skills, new missions and new partnerships in the forest.
French forestry contractors have been at the forefront of writing a handbook for all stakeholders. Thanks to this document, forest owners get information a diversification of their incomes and a better valuation of their wood. It brings also replies to forest managers who often question the markets and associated silvicultural management. It brings replies to concerns of environmentalists over the best level of exploitation of forests. Forestry companies wishing an effective development of the woodchip as well as heating and industrialists seeking visibility and organization of the value chain are certainly at the centre of the document. Last but not lease, communities and owners of boilers reluctant to invest in wood energy projects get a comprehensive overview of the potential of wood chip.
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