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Renewable Energy Firewood Scotland

The term Biomass most often refers to organic matter such as timber and crops grown specifically to be burnt to generate heat and power.

Biomass is a sustainable renewable energy and generally carbon neutral because the carbon released in the combustion process is offset by the carbon trapped in the organic matter by photosynthesis during its growth. To be truly carbon-neutral we need to make sustainable use of plants or trees as fuel, and replant them as we harvest them - so that the carbon is reabsorbed in a continuous and virtuous cycle.

As not many of us have the room to grow biomass crops, the most popular use of biomass in Scotland domestically is in wood burning stoves for water heating and space heating.

Emissions from wood used as fuel contain virtually no sulphur dioxide and very low levels of nitrous oxides, so won't cause acid rain. If wood is seasoned and burnt efficiently it gives off very low amounts of smoke particulates and the ash is an excellent fertiliser. Larger stoves are often fitted with a ‘Lamda’ sensor, which regulates the amount of oxygen added, and so optimises combustion efficiency.

Using wood as a fuel has a number of benefits. Firstly, contrary to what many people think burning wood can be environmentally beneficial. Much of the woodland in the Scotland is semi-natural woodland and benefits from being managed. Secondly, providing the wood comes from a sustainable source, wood is a source of renewable energy. Using wood as a fuel also benefits the rural economy by providing local employment and an opportunity for diversification for farmers and other landowners.

The Environmental Benefits
The woodland that exists today in Scotland does so because it had a use, and thus a value to their owners. They were managed, mostly using coppice systems, to provide fuels and other materials, mainly for local use. The eco-systems that exist in those woods today depend on continuing management for their continued survival.

Many of these woodlands, especially the smaller ones, are no longer managed because they no longer provide any economic benefit to their owners. Continued neglect is not an option for these woodlands. They are managed systems, which require continuing management, if they are to be sustainable. Extracting firewood and other wood from them is one way to ensure that they are managed (because there are economic benefits in doing so).

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