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14 May 2014

Bioenergy case study

North Karelia, Finland (Northern ToSIA)

Suomeksi: Case Pohjois-Karjala

The case study in Finland is implemented for the North Karelia region, where wood is a major source of energy. The aim of the case study was to analyse increased use of forests for bioenergy in the future. We have made comparisons of centralized and distributed heat production using different sized of heating plants to determine overall sustainability. This study determined if sustainability of bioenergy production and forest usage can be accomplished without having an adverse effect on climate change or any livelihood of the region.

We used the ToSIA tool to learn about sustainability within the region, and to test the ToSIA tool to ensure its reliability for use when assessing regional development. Different regional programmes include forest and forestry issues. In case study in Finland ToSIA has been used in the Regional Forestry Programme preparing process and in the new Climate and Energy Programme process. In these processes ToSIA aims to effectively support decision makers of the region.

This case study was executed by the European Forest Institute (contact person: Marja Kolström; tosia [at] and the Forestry Centre of North Karelia (contact person: Heikki Karppinen; heikki.karppinen [at] Implementation of case study is supported and monitored by expertise of the Regional Council of North Karelia, Wood Energy Net (WENET), Finnish Environment Institute, University of Eastern Finland and North Karelia University of Applied Sciences.

Progression of the case study

Presentations about background of the case study and progress reports in

Report of the first local workshop

Final results of the Finnish case study

The Finnish case study aimed at analysing sustainability impacts of increased use of forest resources for bioenergy. Bioenergy supply chains were compared using sustainability indicators which were selected by regional stakeholders. A small scale district heating plant showed a higher employment effect, lower cost efficiency and smaller greenhouse gas emissions compared to a medium scale district heating plant. ToSIA was applied to assess sustainability impacts of supply chain modifications in interaction with the managers of district heating plants. The multi-criteria analysis module of ToSIA was tested in a stakeholder session with the regional Forestry Council, to assess the impacts of alternative harvest levels for developing the next forest management plan. ToSIA was also used in regional strategy preparation in assessing the impacts of the targets set in the “Climate and Energy Programme of North Karelia 2020”.

More information about the North Karelia case study



Final report

North Karelia factsheet: