Forest fuel production is a growing industry in Canada and elsewhere, as governments strive to increase energy security and find alternatives to the use of fossil fuels. While forest bioenergy can provide environmental benefits such as renewability and carbon emissions reductions, the industry can also pose environmental risks through increasing pressure on forest resources. Because large-scale forest bioenergy production is relatively new to Canada, much is still unknown about how such an industry might evolve and impact forest ecosystems. These unknowns, along with the cross-sectoral, multistakeholder nature of the industry, make planning for sustainable forest bioenergy systems quite challenging. In this paper, we introduce some of the challenges to creating sustainable systems, and we discuss how sustainable forest management frameworks like Adaptive Forest Management and Sustainable Forest Management Certification can help to meet these challenges. We also discuss the importance of technology transfer to ensuring that the best available knowledge forms the basis for effective standards and management plans. Sustainable forest management frameworks can help to organize, distil and communicate the growing body of research on forest bioenergy production, link policy to practice through the creation of standards, and incorporate provisions for continual learning and system adaptation, all of which are key to the long-term sustainability of the rapidly evolving forest bioenergy sector.
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