The interest in the use of energy of the forests has been increasing in recent decades. Biomass has the potential to provide a cost-effective and sustainable supply of renewable energy. Moreover, it could be valuable for reducing the severity of forest fires and create employment in extremely needy regions. This chapter brings to discuss the effect of forest management on the potential of energy provided by the woodlands. The authors selected as a case study the management of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.), an important softwood species in the southwest of Europe and, in particular, in Portugal where it represents around 22% of the forest area. A summary of traditional and new silvicultural guidelines for the species, used or proposed to be followed at the national level, is presented. The study follows with the evaluation of stand yield and the potential of energy associated with four alternative silvicultural guidelines. Two scenarios follow traditional standards (an initial density of 1100–1200 trees/ha), while the other two consider managing a high density stand (an initial density of 40,000 trees/ha). Simulations were performed with the ModisPinaster model. The results show that the new designs provide a considerable yield in terms of biomass and energy.
Part of the book: Forest Biomass