Ukrainian forest farms will provide enough firewood for heating without harming the forests shutterstock

Ukrainian forest farms will provide enough firewood for heating without harming the forests

Katerina Belousova

Ukraine has colossal reserves of cod

Ukrainian forest farms are ready to provide the necessary amount of alternative fuel, in particular chips and firewood, without harming the forests for modular mobile boiler houses that operate on different types of fuel and that can be quickly connected in place of damaged equipment.

T he head of the State Forestry Agency Yurii Blokhovets wrote about it in the blog of Economic Truth. 

The issue of providing mobile boiler houses with a sufficient amount of alternative fuel, namely coal, firewood, straw, etc., was raised at a meeting of the Headquarters for preparations for the autumn-winter period. Recently, the government allocated funds for the purchase of such boiler houses.

The article noted that there are significant risks that the russian federation will try to leave Ukrainian cities without heat in the winter by targeting the infrastructure, because the energy war against Europe has already begun.

The State Forestry Agency has already collected applications for the supply of firewood from almost all regions of the country. The total volume of the declared need is more than 7 million cubic meters. This is several times more than during the usual heating season.

Only Donetsk region, where the destruction of the infrastructure is the greatest, needs more than 700 thousand cubic meters, Mykolayiv region – more than 400 thousand, Odesa region – more than 300 thousand.

Blokhovets proposed a solution to increase firewood harvesting and not harm the forests.

"We have no right to deviate from the principle of tireless methods of forest management. Which means not to take more resources from the forest than can be recovered in the same period of time," he said.

According to experts' calculations, on average, about 4 cubic meters of wood grows per hectare of forest (6-7 cubic meters in the Carpathians, 2-3 cubic meters in the southern regions), that is, 40 million cubic meters of wood appear in Ukraine every year. However, only half - 20 million cubic meters - is harvested, and the rest remains in hard-to-reach areas in the mountains, swampy areas, etc.

"Therefore, the reserve that is not taken due to insufficiently developed forest infrastructure is quite significant. According to our estimates, this is an additional 2 million cubic meters of firewood," Blokhovets said.

It is also possible to increase harvesting by intensifying forest care.

In 2020, the normative indicator of the completeness of plantings, i.e. the density of trees in the forest, was reduced in Ukraine. Accordingly, there was an opportunity to increase the volume of thinning and continuous felling (forest care).

This will make it possible to additionally harvest another 4 million cubic meters. There are also substantial reserves of sanitary felling.

Blokhovets emphasized that Ukraine has enormous reserves of wood chips, and every year millions of tons of such waste remain in the forests.

"Only 300,000 cubic meters are cut somewhere, and one and a half million cubic meters of cod remains. We are ready to invest in processing and process the entire volume (for us, this is an additional over a billion hryvnias of earnings), but we need a consumer. That is, boiler houses that agree to buy this fuel. Thus, the forest industry is ready to find the necessary amount of firewood for the country without harming the forest fund. A meeting with the chief engineers of the regional administrations has already been held," he said.

Blokhovets also added that the process of allocating additional plantations for harvesting is ongoing. And for managers who will not be able to mobilize and ensure procurement in the necessary volumes, tough personnel decisions will be made.

However, the preparation is only part of the question. After all, firewood was mainly bought by local residents or communities from local forest farms. Everything happened at the local level. There was no established system of distribution and delivery to other regions, because there was no need.

However, the forest farms of the south and east today do not have enough resources to provide the colossal fuel needs of local housing and communal services, caused by the destruction of gas networks and boiler houses.

"We will have to move hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of firewood from the west of the country to the most affected regions, create strategic "emergency" reserves on the ground, distribute fuel between household consumers and utility companies. In other words, it is appropriate for the authorities at the regional level to consider the possibility of conducting centralized purchases and forming a resource distribution system on the ground," said Blokhovets.

Another important aspect is transportation tariffs. Forest farms will provide a resource for the affected regions at affordable prices, but the delivery of firewood by rail from Volyn to the Mykolaiv Region will triple its cost.

Blokhovets noted that this issue also needs to be resolved.

"It is important to adjust the supply system today, without waiting for a hyped demand on the eve of the beginning of the season in October-November. Firewood is not natural gas, which the consumer cannot physically store," he emphasized.

Already, forest farms across the country are experiencing increased demand, because people are afraid of the possibility of being left without gas and electricity and are investing in firewood, stockpiling, and preparing for winter on their own. The State Forestry Agency creates strategic reserves in advance to provide resources for the army in the autumn-winter period.

Earlier, EcoPolitic wrote, that in the city of Rivne, the heat supply company Rivneteploenergo plans to transfer within 5-10 years all their boilers on biomass.

As EcoPolitic previously reported, Naftogaz Teplo intends to buy bio-raw materials at a local business to reduce natural gas consumption.

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