Misconceptions About Wood Utilization

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  • Wood is a raw material utilized to make panels, furniture, doors, and many other manufacturing goods. Or it can be burned to produce energy.
  • Wood is the primary source of energy for over two billion people on this planet, and particularly in family nuclei within developing countries. In industrial countries, however, wood is much more utilized as source of “renewable” energy to contribute to the reduction of gas emission in order to contain the greenhouse effect.
  • F.A.O. (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation) shows that in the year 2000, the worldwide production of wood reached 3,900 billion cubic meters, of which 2,300 were utilized as fuel. This means that throughout the entire world, about 60% of wood coming from forests is used for energy purposes. In a few words, the main application of forest biomass is the production of energy.
  • As we are very familiar with Italian data and statistics, we would like to make a quick reference to some Italian numbers: Approximately 81% of the forest area in Italy (8,510,105 hectares) results as available for cutting and reutilization. To make an example, in the most industrial Italian region of Lombardy we account for 619,000 hectares of forests, which through the yearly growth of the forest area due to reforestation, could generate as much as 3 million cubic meters of wood. But only 18% of that quantity is requested for cutting on a yearly basis. This is a fundamental aspect. Nobody cuts timber indiscriminately. What is cut and utilized is that part of the forest which however through natural aging process ends up in a state of degradation due to molds, insects, bacteria and oxidation simply in the presence of air, which evidently contains oxygen. This process of cutting is also called “thinning” (or sometimes referred as “drainage”, meaning the removal of undesirable and decaying timber from the forest).
  • That percentage of wood which degrades naturally generates CO2 anyway during the degradation process. By using that same percentage of wood and transforming it into wood pellets, which are then burned to generate energy, we basically don’t do anything more than taking advantage of the degradation process, but achieved through the process of combustion instead. And the CO2 released from combustion transforms itself into wood thanks to the solar energy. In short, wood is an accumulation of solar energy. 

Forest  Products International,  Inc.

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Giulio Roverelli – President

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