What is it?
Biomass is the general name given to organic material from plants and animals. The heading 'Wood, fibres and genetic material' covers a wide range of biomass products, which can be harvested, either directly from nature or by agriculture: wood, fibres, flowers, saps, resins and genetic material. Forests and other natural habitats supply wood and fibres and serve as stores of genetic material. Wood and fibres can be used directly for high-grade products, such as veneers and building materials. Increasingly, wood, grass, plants and algae are also refined to produce raw materials for biochemical and medicinal applications. Genetic material (DNA) from plants and animals is of unpredictable value for applications such as enhancement programmes in agriculture and horticulture, as well as in the biochemical and pharmaceutical industries. 'Biomass-based energy' covers ecosystem services linked to the energy extraction.
Forests and other natural habitats store wood, fibres and genetic material, more or less without human intervention. In order for us to go on using such services in the long term, it is vital that we do not harvest more than the ecosystem produces. Where a forest is concerned, that means not harvesting more than each year's new growth. Where other natural habitats are concerned, we need to limit what we harvest to what is available from essential management work.
A sustainable supply of genetic material requires the best possible preservation of ecosystem conditions, so that animals are able to eat, drink, take refuge and winter.
In real life
In the Netherlands, we do not generally harvest as much from our forests and plantations as we might. However, care is needed when it comes to harvesting trees complete with their branches. On poor sandy soils (such as we have beneath most of our forests), that can lead to undesirable soil impoverishment.
In quantitative terms, greater use could be made of biomass from natural habitats. The challenge is obtaining biomass of a usable quality. We therefore need to develop new and improved techniques for making the best possible products from the substances provided by nature. Bio‑refinery of the available biomass is a promising option.
In agriculture, more could be done in terms of cultivating recyclable crops, such as flax and hemp. Where both natural habitats and agricultural lands are concerned, sustainable ecosystem management provides a basis for the continued availability of genetic material.
- Potential harvest of log wood from the Dutch forest
- Potential harvest of branch and top wood from the Dutch forrest
- Potential harvest of log wood from non-forrest sources
- Potential harvest from branch and top wood from non-forrest sources
- Verges and public greenery
- Natural grass
- Reed and heather
- Straw from agriculture
- Stalk and leaf remains (not straw) from agriculture
- Solid manure from agriculture
- Liquid manure from agriculture
Van alle kaarten over houtproductie op Atlas Natuurlijk Kapitaal zijn er vier gebaseerd op het Natuurlijk Kapitaal model (NK-model).
Een aantal kaarten binnen de ecosysteemdienst houtproductie zijn ontwikkeld op basis van het Natuurlijk Kapitaal Model (NK-model). Het startpunt voor de modellering van deze kaarten is de methode van het Belgische natuurrapport 2014. Vervolgens is het model aangepast aan de Nederlandse situatie.
De technische documentatie kunt u hier downloaden.