Unlike in the rest of the world, European and North American forest cover has been increasing for several decades. European forests thus grow by 764 million m3 a year. Yet, only 60% of this is used. This sector therefore has a high development potential.
Even though it is overlooked in developed countries, wood has several advantages. It is produced locally at little cost and provides jobs in rural areas. It increases energy independence. It can be used to produce heat, electricity and fuel for transport or biomaterials (that can be recycled and turned into energy once used). Wood can be used in classic shapes (logs, granules) or turned into gas or petrol.
However, burning wood emits many atmospheric pollutants that are dangerous to health if used domestically: soot particles, dioxins, furan, PCBs, benzene and lead. This problem must be considered if the sector is to develop.