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Convergence of the fuel, food and fibre markets: a forest sector perspective

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The growth of the bio-fuels sector and its effects on the convergence of markets for fuel, food and fibre are examined. The emergence of the bio-energy sector will create pressure on the price of lower quality wood, with the European Commission's binding renewable energy target in 2020 predicted to have the greatest impact on wood markets. A significant projected gap in the supply and demand for wood in Europe by 2020 will increase meaningfully the price of wood and create a shift in land use as the bio-energy sector develops away from forestry and towards the production of other crops which are even more attractive for the production of bioenergy.

Winners in this scenario are predicted to be tropical countries (which generally enjoy higher crop yields and have lower land and labor costs), owners of the land, owners of the key technologies, and solid wood processors (who would have an alternative outlet for their residual fibre). Losers would include existing users of residual wood fibre (who view the emerging bio-energy sector as a threat because of the upward pressure on fibre prices), forest dwellers without property rights, non-market goods and services, and biodiversity.
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Keywords: biofuels; cellulosic biomass; ethanol; residue markets; wood markets

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: CIBC World Markets Inc.

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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