The benefits that wood fuels can have in sustainable forest management have been highlighted in an animation video launched by the Irish Bioenergy Association (IrBEA).

The video demonstrates the processes that take place in a working forest to produce sawlogs and explains the importance of sustainable forest management. If managed correctly, working forests can form a circular economy of sustainable planting, thinning, harvesting and reforestation.

The video also promotes the broader benefits of forests outside of being a source of renewable fuel, such as the provision of timber for construction, biodiversity and the provision of recreational spaces.

Speaking about the video, Sean Finan, CEO of the IrBEA said:

“We are delighted to launch this animation video as a resource for the promotion of the wood fuels sector. It highlights the positive contribution the wood fuel sector make to the overall forest industry.”

The IrBEA manages and administers the Wood Fuel Quality Assurance (WFQA) scheme, which is tasked with increasing consumer confidence in wood fuel products sold in Ireland.

Finan outlined that through this scheme, the number of wood fuel suppliers producing sustainable fuel for the Irish market has increased to several dozen.

“Providing WFQA certified dry wood fuels at a low moisture content, assists the customer in terms of efficiency, heat generation and clean burning. This animation clearly highlights these positive benefits,” he said.

Suppliers under the scheme produce firewood, wood chip, wood pellets, and wood briquettes, all of which the WFQA certify to ISO and EU standards.

The raw materials used for the production of these fuels are all sourced from forest owners and forestry contractors that are engaging in sustainable forest management practices. Noel Gavigan, WFQA manager and auditor said:

“Wood fuels allow home owners and businesses to move away from fossil fuel, fully decarbonising their heating systems, and ensure that the money they spend on energy stays in the local economy.

“It’s the essence of building and developing a sustainable, rural, circular economy,” he concluded.