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Sustainable biomass for raw materials, energy and GHG mitigation (co-organized)
Convener: Viktor J. Bruckman  | Co-Conveners: Chris Rella , Vanessa Parravicini 
 / Thu, 16 Apr, 08:30–10:00
 / Attendance Thu, 16 Apr, 17:30–19:00

In this combined session we consider the measurement and mitigation of two key sources of GHGs: biomass and urban centers. Biomass was once the major source of energy until industrial revolution in the midst of the 19th century and the total amount of bioenergy utilized for energy production is yearly growing. Soils as the primary resource for the production of these renewable forms of energy are not renewable which implies the need of sustainable management. Fertilization and potential greenhouse gas emissions, water management (irrigation) and other ecological concerns (e.g. biodiversity) have to be considered. Concepts such as (virtual) water or carbon footprint assessment could deliver a wider understanding of the potential impacts. A sustainable efficiency enhancement is inevitable, in particular in developing countries, as the potential to convert additional land for agriculture is limited and the long-term impact on soil fertility has to be assessed. Biomass from various sources such as forests, short rotation woody crops (SRWC) and agriculture recently received increased attention. Agricultural crops are worldwide seen as an alternative resource of energy and as raw materials for industrial processes (e.g. in the production of starch products and bioplastic, “second-generation products”). New approaches of thermal utilization of biomass (e.g. torrefacation, pyrolysis) are emerging and have the potential to further decrease GHG emissions via BECCS (Bio Energy and Carbon Capture and Storage).
The quantification of GHG emissions on an urban / regional scale is of crucial interest to academic researchers, government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry, since the identification and quantification of GHG emissions enables policy makers to make informed, metrics-based decisions and to incentivize changes in transportation and land use patterns. Therefore, measurement at emission hotspots (e.g. urban structures), especially measurements of GHGs such as methane for which emissions inventories are highly uncertain, plays a crucial role in public policy discourse.
This session is open to contributions assessing aspects of biomass utilization at different scales (e.g. local-global, national forest inventories), dealing with potential consequences of land-use change on soils (e.g. nutrient depletion, acidification, carbon cycle), water (e.g. pollution, altering catchment water balances) and atmosphere (e.g. CO2 mitigation potentials, VOC’s pollution of fast growing species). Various environmental consequences on extensive biomass utilization and how to mitigate such negative effects, additional CO2 mitigation potential and conflicts with traditional industries are some areas of key interest. Contributions on efforts to measure and quantify GHG emissions at the facility-level, the neighborhood-level, and also at city and regional scales are highly welcome. Interdisciplinary and holistic approaches, as well as abstracts proposing alternative use of forest biomass as well as contributions to novel approaches in GHG measuring/quantification are highly welcome.
This session is co-organized with the IUFRO Task-Force Forest Biomass and IUFRO Unit 7.01.03, Impacts of air pollution and climate change on forest ecosystems – Atmospheric deposition, soils and nutrient cycles.