Biomass production potentials from trees outside forests

Significance Statement

Bioenergy from trees outside forest is unlikely to become an important contributor to local energy provision. However, most of the investigated landscape elements where under some kind of management, mostly pruning. Therefore, we encourage the utilization of the material gained by these activities for bioenergy production in order to reduce societal costs related to the management. Future work should focus on the development of management plans for trees outside forests, including their harvest, transport and utilization. 

About the author

The group of authors comprises geographers, forest scientists and biologists. The first author is currently affiliated at the Oregon State University in Corvallis (USA). 

Journal Reference

Quantification of Biomass Production Potentials from Trees Outside Forests—A Case Study from Central Germany

BioEnergy Research,September 2015, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 1344-1351.

Dominik Seidel 1,5, Gerald Busch2, Benjamin Krause3, Claudia Bade4, Carola Fessel4,Christoph Kleinn1

Show Affiliations
  1. Chair of Forest Inventory and Remote Sensing, Faculty of Forest Science and Forest Ecology, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 5, 37077, Göttingen, Germany
  2. Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, College of Forestry, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 97331, USA
  3. Bureau of Applied Landscape Ecology and Scenario Analysis, Am Weißen Steine 4, 37085, Göttingen, Germany
  4. Department of Nature Conservation and Landscape Management, Faculty of Forest Science and Forest Ecology, University of Göttingen, Büsgenweg 3, 37077, Göttingen, Germany
  5. Department of Plant Ecology, University of Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073, Göttingen, Germany


Woody biomass of trees outside forests (TOF) is gaining increasing interest in many countries as it is a renewable energy source that has not been managed for bioenergy production. Our case study describes two independent approaches to assess regional area of TOF as a means for the biomass production potential of TOF within a study region in Germany, the Göttingen district (area: 1,118 km2): (1) a statistical sampling with field inventory data, and (2) an area-wide GIS-mapping approach based on open-access aerial imagery. For our particular study, the differences between the mapping-based approach and the sample-based approach were minor (sampling: 24.37 ha and 16,670 t of dry wood per year with a relative standard error 11.6 % vs. area-wide mapping: 24.35 ha and 16,055 t; standard error not available). Due to a minor difference of only 3.7 % between the two approaches, we conclude that area-wide mapping serves as a sound basis for a quantification of bioenergy potentials from TOF. It also shown that only about 62 % of all TOF objects (74 % of the total annual biomass production) would be directly accessible via the existing road infrastructure (without heavy machinery). In terms of available end-use energy, the regional biomass potential translates to an annual amount of 233 TJ which, in turn, reflects only about 0.9 % of the annual end-use energy demand in the study area. This marginal contribution to the region’s energy supply is due to the fact that TOF covers only around 24 km2 (~2 %) in our study area.

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Figure legend:  Energy from woody biomass.

Quantification of Biomass Production Potentials from Trees Outside Forests-A Case Study from Central Germany .Renewable Energy Global Innovations




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