Efficiency, potential, and sustainability of bioenergy production in Swedish forests

Grant: 1,5 mkr
Funder: Bio4energy
Duration: 2017-07-01 till 2019-06-30
Researchers in the project: Tommy Lundgren och Zhou Wenchao

Considering the far-reaching changes in the national and European energy system, e.g. the ensuing phase out of Swedish nuclear power, it is imperative to look at alternatives when considering new forms of energy sources. Forest fuels have received particular attention in Sweden. It is estimated that the shortage of biomass for energy from European forests is over 300 million m3 in 2030. This research aims to study the forest as a source of sustainable alternative renewable energy. Specifically, the project aims to answer the following questions: (1) To what degree is forest fuel produced inefficiently from a production theoretic perspective? (2) Does the production efficiency change over time, and if so, what are its determinants? (3) What is the potential of increased production of forest fuel by eliminating inefficiencies, while still maintaining sustainability in production? (4) What policies could eliminate the inefficiencies? (5) What are the potential market and climate effects of eliminating inefficiencies?

Results from the project will provide important information to the debate on alternative renewable energy sources, and can serve as a basis for energy policy decisions beyond the Europe 2020 strategy. Although the results are specific for Sweden, implications are useful in an EU context.

Escaping the pastoralist paradox in the face of climate change: A comparative analysis of different tenure systems and their implications for climate vulnerability in semi-arid Sub-Saharan African

Grant: 2 700 000 sek
Funder: Vetenskapsrådet
Project manager: Göran Bostedt

Pastoralists across East Africa are challenged by loss of land, political conflicts, population increase, economic inequality, and climate change. A transition from pastoralism to agro-pastoralism has been observed in semiarid areas in response to these challenges. The hypothesis for this project is that the resilience of this transition rests on the capacity to provide secure, but still flexible, access to land, the so-called paradox of pastoralist land tenure.

The purpose of this project is to conduct a comparative study of land tenure and capacity for climate adaption in four semi-arid, pastoralist regions in Kenya. The aim is to provide new insights on how pastoralist land tenure can be designed to enable effective adaptation strategies. The four Kenyan case study counties are all dominated by semi-arid land. We identify and categorize land tenure systems and associated practices within these four areas, and map the way land tenure is practiced in these counties through samples of communities in each county. This will enable an evaluation of the marginal valuation of changes in attributes central to household welfare and collective action. The project will use a combination of ecological methods to measure rangeland productivity, combined with interview data on household livestock and milk production, animal breeds and health. We will then synthesize these results to identify pathways towards resilient pastoralist land tenure systems and propose alternative tenure designs.

Wallander scholarship

Grant: 1 610 000 sek
Funder: Wallenberg Scholarship
Duration: 2018-2020
Recipient: Mattias Vesterberg

The money is an opportunity to continue to research and also to spend some of this time at another university. Hopefully will this money make it possible for academic advancements towards an associate professorship.

The right question: New ways to elicit quantitative information in surveys

Grant: 4 500 000 sek
Funder: Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation
Duration: 2018-2019
Project manager: Bengt Kriström

The objective of the project is to develop and empirically test relevant theory supporting the use of self-selected
intervals, in a joint effort between economics, psychophysics and statistics. The hypotheses are that the intervals reduce a number of well-known biases, provide a useful picture of
response uncertainty and increase response rates. Lab experiments (GEL and classroom) and field surveys (national and international) will be the methods of the project. Expected outcomes are a better understanding of the merits of using intervals in survey research. Development of underlying theory. Tools for practical use (user-friendly software). A strengthening of co-operation between economics, psychophysics and statistics.

International network
This application is supported by extensive international collaboration. A brief description of how each participant fit into the proposed project is given in the table below:

French National Institute for Agricultural Research
Nancy
Dr. Geraldine Bocqueho

HES, Geneve
School of Business Administration
Professor Andrea Baranzini

Oulu University
Dept. of Economics
Professor Rauli Svento

Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Dept. of Applied Economics
Professor Pere Riera

University of California, Berkeley
DARE
Professor Peter Berck

University of California, Santa Barbara
Dept. of Statistics & Applied Probability
Professor S. Rao Jammalamadaka

University de Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
TIDES
Professor Carmelo Leon

University of Manchester
School of Scoial Sciences
Dr. Prasenjit Banerjee

University of North Carolina
CEnREp
Professor Laura Taylor

University of Wyoming
Dept. of Economics & Finance
Professor Jason F. Shogren

POLYFORES

Decision-making Support for Forest Ecosystem Services in Europe - Value Assessment, Synergy Effects and Trade-offs

Grant: € 1,68 M
Funder: Sum Forest ERA NET
Duration: 2016-12-01 – 2020-12-31
Project manager: Camilla Widmark

Forests offer a multitude of ecosystem services; thus, the benefits people obtain from ecosystems. Accordingly, forest ecosystem services, are those benefits that people obtain from forest ecosystems, such as timber, food, alternative energy materials, climate mitigation, water quality, biodiversity, recreation, and cultural benefits. This research project – POLYFORES – focus on the synergies of using forest residuals for example for bioenergy and climate mitigation, but also the trade-offs between different uses of the forest, for example timber production and recreation. Recognizing the multiple dimensions of ES values is key for capturing the diversity of societal demands focused on forest ecosystem services. In recent years, multiple authors have raised claims towards integrating the non-economic values into ecosystem services valuation and indeed the studies combining different value dimensions into a coherent framework are starting to emerge. POLYFORES has been designed based on the observation of a trend towards intensification of forest use in many European countries: On the one side, this trend is fueled by an increasing demand for forest products and services, driven by global population and income growth and an increasing per capita consumption of forest products politically promoted by a shift towards bio-economy. On the other side, an increasing area of forests is protected for biodiversity and recreational values or not managed at all due to the lacking interest of forest owners. This de facto decreases the share of actively managed forest lands. Consequently, meeting growing demand for forest biomass on the remaining area is inevitable leading to important decisions involving synergies and trade-offs among forest ecosystem services.

POLYFORES aims at first to map ecological impacts between different forest ecosystem services at both temporal and spatial scales. Second, the aim is to provide a holistic approach to value assessment to consider different valuation taking into account multiple-levels of decisions-making. Third, and last, the aim of POLYFORES is to support decision-making processes of forest ecosystem services at different levels (like Pan-European, EU, national and sub-national). The project is organized into six work packages that in different combinations of ecologic, economic and political science models studies forest ecosystem services, hence combining natural and social sciences disciplines. The project is also focus on contributing to the policy science and practice interface.

The work-packages are, in summary:
  • WP 1 - Scientific and administration of the project, including scientific coordination of the other five work-packages.
  • WP 2 - Assessment of ecological impacts including developing simulations models to assess conflicts and synergies of forest ecosystem services as well as provide ecological decision-making support.
  • WP 3 - Assessment of economic and non-economic values of forest ecosystem services, considering trade-offs and synergies between them.
  • WP 4 - Policy assessment with the aim of analyzing how policies address forest ecosystem services and how synergies and trade-offs are identified.
  • WP 5 – Investigating how policy objectives and regulatory frameworks operates in practice, linking policy science and landscape ecology.
  • WP 6 – Facilitate coherent and integrated decision-making towards sustainable and multifunctional forest management.

Project consortium includes 8 partners, from 7 countries: Austria, Belarus, Germany, Norway, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and EFINORD is the lead partner and is responsible for coordination and management of the project.

Baltic ForBio: Accelerating production of forest bioenergy in the Baltic Sea Region

Grant: € 2,5 miljoner
Duration: 2017-2020
Funder: Interreg Baltic Sea Region
Project manager: Peichen Gong

The project aims to increase production of renewable energy in the Baltic Sea Region by improving the capacity of public authorities, forest and energy agencies, organizations of forest owners and entrepreneurs, and forest advisory organisations for promoting the harvest and use of logging residues and small trees cut in early thinning. Based on available technologies and research results, the project will develop cost-effective and sustainable harvest methods, decision support tools, guidelines and training programs for harvest of logging residues and small trees. The project will also produce, in close cooperation with key stakeholders, a GIS platform and database for producing spatially explicit estimates of forest biomass potentials, and innovative business models for developing small-scale bioenergy plants in rural area in the Baltic Sea Region.

The project consortium consists of 13 partner organizations from 6 countries. The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences is the lead partner, and is responsible for coordination and management of the project.

The Value of Power Reductions and Outages in Swedish Industry and the Public Sector

Funder: EFORIS, Energiforsk
Grant: 1 071 500 sek
Duration: 2017-2018
Project manager: Runar Brännlund
Researchers: Thomas Broberg, Runar Brännlund, Tommy Lundgren, Lars Persson
(Swedish: Värdet av effektreduceringar och strömavbrott i svenskt näringsliv och offentlig sektor)

There is today a lively discussion about the question of whether we should have an explicit supply security target for electricity. In short, the discussion is relevant for (at least) two reasons. The first is that the deregulation of the electricity market in 1996 meant that an explicit delivery security target disappeared. The second is the concern that supply, or delivery, security will deteriorate due to the change we see in the production mix towards increasingly intermittent power production. However, the issue of a possible delivery security target, and at what level, cannot be separated from the cost and the value of achieving a given target. The purpose of this project is to study the value, or cost, for power reductions or power outages, for business and the public sector. Estimating the value of electricity, or the cost of loss of electricity, for businesses, including agriculture and the public sector, calls for a different approach than when the household sector is being studied. The objectives of the project can be summarized as follows:
  • Estimate costs for power constraints and power outage for business and public sectors.
  • Analyze factors that affect differences in costs between different industry sectors.
  • Based on estimated costs, carry out scenario analyzes of different power limitations / power outages of different duration and at different times.
  • Get a deeper understanding of the driving forces behind changes in the cost of power outages over time.
  • Contribute to method development to estimate power outages.

Enriching the energy policy toolbox - How to deal with real inefficiencies in energy use?

Grant: 5 674 000 sek
Duration: January 2015 - June 2018
Funder: Swedish Energy Agency
Project manager and contact: Andrius Kazukauskas

A large literature argues that firms and households are not energy efficient and would therefore be able to reduce their energy use and costs. In the project report for SEA (Dnr 2013-003213) we have provided a rationale for policy makers to act on improving energy efficiency. The overarching purpose of this project is to bring the discussion on inefficiencies in energy use from theory to practical application. To accomplish this we will investigate inefficiencies in energy use relating to split-incentives and inattention. Social ‘nudges’ are one example of policy instruments which may have a significant impact on energy use. In this project we intend to implement a field experiment (in partnership with AB Bostaden in Umeå) which could help us to answer the question of how social norms affect energy use among Swedish households. We also plan to use survey data to study inattention and data from energy certifications of multi-dwelling buildings to study the split-incentives problem.

Energy taxation in Sweden

Grant: 1 500 000 sek 
Funder: Energiforsk
Project manager and contact: Bengt Kriström

The project aims to study the effects of energy taxation from a general equilibrium perspective

The electricity consumer – a force on the electricity market

Grant: 1 590 000 sek
Funder: Energiforsk
Project manager and contact: Runar Brännlund

The project aims to estimate the added value lost as a result of various restrictions in household electricity consumption, and household expenses for short power failure, which gives a "price" on a targeted disconnection of electricity. The willingness of households to adjust their electricity use is governed by several factors - both economic and non-economic. One aim of the project is to analyze the extent to which households are willing to adapt to non-economic reasons, for example to facilitate the integration of renewable resources.

Landscape planning for Forest Biodiversity and Diverse Forestry

Funder: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency
Duration: 2016-2018
Project Manager: Gabriel Michanek, Uppsala University
Contact: Göran Bostedt 

According to a state report 2015, it will not be possible to meet the Swedish Environmental Objective "Sustainable Forests" with current or planned policy instruments. This is in part due to the lack of landscape strategies and environmental considerations in felling. Sweden is thus not capable to comply with international obligations to protect habitats according to e.g. the Habitats Directives. At the same time, timber production is essential, not least as biomass plays a significant role in the conversion of the energy system, which relates obligations according to the EU Renewables Directive. The purpose of the project is to explore ecological and legal preconditions for spatial planning of forest landscapes in order to promote a more sustainable and diverse management of forests, aiming at stronger protection of biodiversity in some areas and intensive forestry in other areas. In a first study, an ecological model for landscape strategies and planning-simulation is used, developing scenarios that are used as the basis for a subsequent legal study on landscape forest planning. This study explores how such planning in France is regulated and applied. The study also analyses if adaptive planning (used e.g. in the EU Water Framework Directive) could be used in planning of forest landscapes. Finally, legal complications related to the implementation of forest planning are explored and discussed, for example legal consequences for property rights related to forest resources. In order to create a self-supporting system, where costs for conservation of biodiversity are more evenly distributed among land owners, the project will bring forward and discuss an economic regulation where tree felling is taxed and taxed means are allocated to those land owners who are disfavoured by the restrictions of the plan. Learn more (only in Swedish)

Gold and arsenic. Environmental risks, responsibility and corporate strategies in Boliden 1924-1945

Grant: 1 500 000 sek
Funder: Jan Wallanders och Tom Hedelius Stiftelse
Duration: 2014-2017
Project manager and contact: Ann-Kristin Bergquist

Revealing energy rebound effects in Swedish industry

Grant: 3 599 000 sek
Funder: Swedish Energy Agency
Duration: 2015-2017
Project leader and contact: Tommy Lundgren

In practice, the climate and energy policy decisions rarely account for the so-called rebound effect. This effect erodes the potential of achieving energy conservation from increasing energy efficiency. Therefore, the rebound effect should be considered when designing climate and energy policies. However, we argue that the knowledge about the effect is generally insufficient. For instance, we can find no empirical studies on Swedish industry that aim at discovering the actual rebound effect and its determinants based on historical firm level data. This is the general goal of this project, and it will increase the understanding of how climate and energy policy decisions may contribute to energy conservation and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions – highly relevant for all countries.

The value of recreational fishing in Sweden

Main partner and funder: Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Duration: Ongoing
Contact: Göran Bostedt or Runar Brännlund

The project is based on a survey from the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management.