Europe is the largest international market for wood pellets. To meet the rising demand, some 20 percent are imported from North America, while most is sourced from Eastern Europe, as well as Scandinavia and the Baltic stats. As prices have gone up, so have the profits. Because wood pellets are considered climate friendly in Europe, they are even subsidized.
While homeowners and the industry benefit, in many areas, the development is now damaging more and more protected and vulnerable forest areas and threatens biodiversity.
Forest experts are sounding the alarm - particularly in Eastern Europe, a lot of trees are being cut down that are far too valuable to go up in smoke. Calls are mounting for the EU to stop subisidizing the wood pellet industry.
But environmentalists, industry representatives and consumers in Europe and North America have very different takes on the issue.
Author: Cäcilia Kruchem
Presenter: Evelyn McClafferty