Private forest owners play a key role in local wood fuel production and value chains

23 supply clusters established, 20.000 ha woodland in active management, 25 MW new heating capacity installed thanks to AFO project

The AFO project started in 2009 and its main objective was to increase wood fuel supply from privately owned forests, as they possess most of the European wood energy potential. AFO carried out various activation procedures to initiate wood fuel supply clusters among private forest owners. These clusters were brought together with the local potential energy wood users, focusing on local small- and medium scale heat plants. The project operated in six countries and five specific target areas. Finland and Austria are countries of high wood fuel utilization level and strong experience of bioenergy harvesting and procurement systems. Best practices were transferred from these countries to less experienced partner countries with vast private forests ownership (France, Slovenia, Latvia and UK).
The project consortium with Jyrki Raitila (AFO project coordinator from VTT Finland) presented the project and its implementation outcomes: 23 supply clusters were established, approximately 20.000 ha of woodland were brought into active management and 25 MW (0.1-5 MW) of new heating capacity were installed. Moreover 15 supply clusters meaning 19 MW are still in the pipeline. These figures highly exceed the expected project outcomes.
The project developed a set of general approaches to better mobilise fuel wood from (in particular small-scaled) forest owners to local heat plants and through this create new local value chains. However, it was clearly noted that each region has its specific conditions, which require often tailored strategies. Local authorities appeared to be a good starting point for local value chains. Although through the AFO project several new value chains were created, continuous support for forest owners is needed to develop the wood fuel resource supply and markets to its full potential. The grouping of forest owners is regarded as a key to establish local wood fuel markets, yet the integration off all stakeholders from the "tree to the heater" is required, as wood fuel supply chains involve more than just forest owners.
For further information about the AFO project, please visit:
The presentations of AFO final seminar can be downloaded at:


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