Renewable Energy, Volume 68, 2014, Pages 611–617.
Margo MacGregor, Michelle Adams, Peter Duinker.
School for Resource and Environmental Studies, Dalhousie University, 6100 University Ave., Suite 5010, Halifax, Canada.
The use of forest biomass in thermal generation processes has been recognized by the Government of Nova Scotia (NS) as one option that could help meet its renewable electricity goals (25% by 2015 and 40% by 2020). Over half of the woodland in NS is owned by small-private woodland owners (51%), indicating that they could significantly influence the future of NS forests and its potential use for energy purposes. This paper presents the results of a survey of small-woodland owners on their attitudes towards using energy from forest biomass. 489 small-woodland owners responded to mail-out surveys and 14 rural community members participated in three focus groups. Three major findings emerged. First, it was found that the acceptability of using forest products varied depending on multiple factors – the source of biomass, harvesting methods, and [predicted] end-use. Second, forest sustainability and keeping resources local were the two most important concerns amongst respondents. Finally, respondents felt that better collaboration with other stakeholders and education around the issues would be the best strategies for overcoming these concerns. The paper also highlights the barriers and drivers as perceived by the woodland owners as they relate to the possibility of using more biomass for energy in the future.