The current situation of forests and forestry as well as woody biomass utilization in Japan was described, and the future outlook for the use of forest biomass in Japan was presented. Many planted forests are now becoming mature, so the operational efficiency in forestry should be improved not only by the development of the forest infrastructure but also by the full mechanization of the logging system. The Kyoto Protocol adopted in 1997 promoted the energy utilization of waste woody biomass such as mill residues and wood-based waste materials, and the launch of the Feed-in Tariff scheme for renewable energy (FIT) in 2012 promoted the energy utilization of once-unutilized thinnings. In order to further expand the production of forest biomass and its utilization for energy, logging residues, small-sized trees, and short rotation woody coppices (SRWC) are promising. Thus, low-cost harvesting technologies should be developed as soon as possible, with reference to machines and systems operating in foreign countries where the utilization of such forest biomass is making steady progress.
Part of the book: Biotechnological Applications of Biomass