Division of Food Production and Society

TRIBORN - Triple Bottom Line Outcomes for Bioenergy Development and Innovation in Rural Norway

Finished Last updated: 27.06.2017
End: jun 2017
Start: jan 2014
Through this project we will produce knowledge on how systems and strategies for bio-energy innovation should be designed to promote Triple Bottom Line benefits in rural areas and to promote the achievement of national bioenergy targets.
Start - end date 01.01.2014 - 30.06.2017
Project manager Atle Wehn Hegnes
Project manager at Nibio Nicholas Clarke
Division Division of Food Production and Society
Department Economics and Society
Partners Nordregio, Norsk institutt for naturforskning, University of Santiago de Compostela, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, CISA (Italy), Energigården, Hansen Economics.
Total budget NOK 16,1 mill.
Budget this year NOK 4,5 mill.
Funding source The Research Council of Norway

Summary

The project investigates how to increase production of bioenergy in ways that promote sustainable development  understood as positive economic, social and environmental outcomes - in rural areas. A wide body of research on innovation in renewable energy and its impacts on rural people has questioned the notion that such outcomes are inevitable, and can be taken for granted. Specific forms of bioenergy and related policy innovation may improve energy security and flexibility in rural areas, development of rural economies and communities and climate friendly energy.

This project aims to understand and foster systems for bioenergy innovation and related support policies that can produce such positive social, economic and environmental outcomes. We apply and aim to develop a method for developing Regional Innovation Systems approaches that is capable of producing such outcomes in different social, economic and political contexts - a method called the Grounded Innovation Platform (GRIP) approach and is a bottom-up process based on involvement of private and public stakeholders to generate legitimate rural development.

The project will generate knowledge on key factors for success and failure in platform building by comparing cases in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy. Especially Sweden and Finland have achieved good results. We will test and further develop the GRIP-approach by mobilising industry, energy users, farmers, NGOs and governing  agencies in the construction of regional innovation platforms under different conditions.

The project will contribute to knowledge about outcomes of the development of renewable energy on economic opportunities, social viability and acceptance and environmental sustainability in rural economies; the ability of GRIPs to facilitate innovation within bioenergy production, related policies and governance structures; the ability of GRIPs to fulfil the national RED targets and to reduce negative impacts through sustainable forest management.

Work Packages

WP WP description WP leader
WP1 Project coordination and management Karen Refsgaard
WP 23 Data gathering, GRIP-facilitation, evaluation of outcomes and policy instrumentation
WP23a Identify case study areas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy Karen Refsgaard
WP23b Map and interview stakeholders in N, S, F and I Karen Refsgaard and Rasmus Ole Rasmussen
WP23ck Identification of, monitoring of, and dialogue with GRIPs Atle Wehn Hegnes and Rasmus Ole Rasmussen
WP23d Biofuels Lampros Lamprinakis
WP23e CO2-capture – balancing use of forests for carbon storage and bioenergy Nicholas Clarke
WP23f Evaluation of environmental impacts Nicholas Clarke and Bjørn Egil Flø
WP23g Field studies of effects of intensified biomass removal from forest for bioenergy Nicholas Clarke
WP23h Policies and institutions for the development of bioenergy Anders Chr. Hansen
WP23i Data gathering bioenergy chain NO Lampros Lamprinakis
WP23j Citizens survey Anne Strøm Prestvik
WP-PhD Comparison of Rural Development Impacts of Bioenergy in Italy and Norway Bianca Cavicchi with super visors: Olav Wicken (University of Oslo) and John Bryden
WP4 Action and knowledge implementation Karen Refsgaard

Publications in the project

To document

Abstract

In this introduction to the special issue on inclusive innovation in the bioeconomy, the authors highlight inclusive innovation’s significance to economies that provide the vital resources of food, water, and energy. Innovation in the bioeconomy raises questions of environmental sustainability, human survival, social justice, and human rights. This article thus emphasizes, especially, the roles that institutions play regarding innovation in the bioeconomy. The authors suggest that inclusive innovation be defined as new ways of improving the lives of the most needy. They outline research implications of this definition, and relate these implications to debates about the modes and ethics of innovation. They argue that innovation systems’ design affects these systems’ potential for inclusiveness as well as their value premises. Finally, the contributions to this special issue are introduced and discussed in light of the special issue’s overall purpose and framework.

To document

Abstract

Innovation policies’ normative foundations have been little discussed in the academic literature, despite these foundations’ impact on the priorities and consequences of innovation. Especially, the aim of sustainable development calls for discussion about innovation’s normative foundations. This article discusses ethical principles drawn from ideas about Triple Bottom Line (TBL) accounting, human rights, and the New Sussex Manifesto. It discusses implications that these ethical principles have for innovation systems design and for innovation policies. Based on that discussion, the authors outline a principle of a human rights-based TBL in innovation. This principle implies that innovation systems, especially those involving vital resources, should look beyond science, technology, and competitiveness, and consider the needs and rights of those whose livelihoods depend on the resources in question. The article concludes with a set of general principles for the design of innovation systems in natural resource-based economies.

Abstract

Increased forest biomass production for bioenergy will have various consequences for landscape scenery, depending on both the landscape features present and the character and intensity of the silvicultural and harvesting methods used. We review forest preference research carried out in Finland, Sweden and Norway, and discuss these findings in relation to bioenergy production in boreal forest ecosystems. Some production methods and related operations incur negative reactions among the public, e.g. stump harvesting, dense plantation, soil preparation, road construction, the use of non-native species, and partly also harvest of current non-productive forests. Positive visual effects of bioenergy production tend to be linked to harvesting methods such as tending, thinning, selective logging and residue harvesting that enhance both stand and landscape openness, and visual and physical accessibility. Relatively large differences in findings between studies underline the importance of local contextual knowledge about landscape values and how people use the particular landscape where different forms of bioenergy production will occur. This scientific knowledge may be used to formulate guiding principles for visual management of boreal forest bioenergy landscapes.

Abstract

Effects of clear-cut harvesting on ground vegetation plant species diversity and their cover are investigated at two Norway spruce sites in southern Norway, differing in climate and topography. Experimental plots at these two sites were either harvested conventionally (stem-only harvesting) or whole trees including crowns, twigs and branches were removed (whole-tree harvesting), leaving residue piles on the ground for some months. We compare the number of plant species in different groups and their cover sums before and after harvesting, and between the different treatments, using non-parametric statistical tests. An overall loss of ground vegetation biodiversity is induced by harvesting and there is a shift in cover of dominant species, with negative effects for bryophytes and dwarf shrubs and an increase of graminoid cover. Differences between the two harvesting methods at both sites were mainly due to the residue piles assembled during whole-tree harvesting and the physical damage made during the harvesting of residues in these piles. The presence of the residue piles had a clear negative impact on both species numbers and cover. Pile residue harvesting on unfrozen and snow-free soil caused more damage to the forest floor in the steep terrain at the western site compared to the eastern site.

Abstract

Whole-tree harvest (WTH), i.e. harvesting of forest residues (twigs, branches and crown tops) in addition to stems, for bioenergy purposes may lead to biodiversity loss and changes in species composition in forest ground vegetation, which in turn also will affect soil properties. Effects of clear-cut harvesting on ground vegetation have been investigated at two Norway spruce sites in southern east and western Norway, respectively, differing in climate and topography. Experimental plots at these two sites were either harvested conventionally (stem-only harvest, SOH), leaving harvest residues spread on the site,or WTH was carried out, with the residues collected into piles at the site for six - nine months prior to removal. Vegetation plots in the eastern site were established and analysed before WTH and SOH in 2008 and reanalysed after harvesting in 2010, 2012 and 2014. In the western site vegetation plots were established before WTH and SOH in 2010 and reanalysed after harvesting in 2012 and 2014 (and planned for 2016). All vegetation plots are permanently marked. Pre-as well as post-harvesting species abundances of all species in each vegetation plot were each time recorded as percentage cover (vertical projection) and subplot frequency. Environmental variables (topographical, soil physical, soil chemical, and tree variables) were recorded only once; before WTH and SOH. Effec ts of WTH and SOH on ground vegetation biodiversity and cover are presented.

To document

Abstract

This paper deals with processes and outcomes of sustainable bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna. It draws on an on-going research project concerning inclusive innovation in forest-based bioenergy and biogas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy. The goal is to explore how local governance impacts on inclusive innovation processes and triple bottom sustainability of bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna and, ultimately, to contribute to the debate on the bioeconomy. It thus compares the case of biogas and forest-based bioenergy production. The study adopts an analytical framework called Grounded Innovation (GRIP) and the local governance approach. The study uses qualitative methods and particularly semi-structured interviews and governance analysis. The key results show different outcomes on both inclusive innovation and triple bottom-line dimensions. Biogas has not fostered inclusiveness and triple bottom line sustainability benefits, contrary to forest-based bioenergy. The findings indicate that the minor role of local actors, particularly municipalities, in favour of industrial and national interests may jeopardise the sustainability of biobased industries. Besides, policies limited to financial incentives may lead to a land-acquisition rush, unforeseen local environmental effects and exacerbate conflicts.

To document

Abstract

In this paper, we apply grounded innovation platforms (GRIPs) as a tool for inclusive innovation in relation to forest-based bioenergy in Norway. We use cases studied in the Triple Bottom Line Outcomes for Bioenergy Development and Innovation in Rural Norway research project. We review the notion of GRIPs and classify them. We analyse forms of GRIPs and the hypothesis that forms of GRIP affect ‘triple bottom line’ outcomes of sustainable development. We relate our findings to the debates on inclusive innovation, which we argue is not simply an issue for ‘developing countries’. Development, being understood to be different from economic growth, is concerned with inclusion and exclusion, and, in a world of growing inequalities, is a universal issue everywhere.

Abstract

Som en del av det grønne skiftet har økt uttak av biomasse fra skogene våre fått mye oppmerksomhet. Målet er blant annet å øke produksjonen av bioenergi. Økt uttak kan påvirke hvordan skogene oppleves og hvor tiltrekkende de er for rekreasjon, noe som igjen kan ha betydning i et folkehelseperspektiv.