Forest Guild Issues Forest Biomass Retention and Harvesting Guidelines For Southeast
Date Posted: March 1, 2012
The Forest Guild's new guidelines for sustainable harvest of forest biomass in the Southeast details how to produce renewable energy from the region's forests while still protecting them for future generations.
"The Forest Guild guidelines show a much needed middle path. We don't have to forfeit environmental protection to produce renewable energy and create jobs," explained Mike DeBonis, Forest Guild Executive Director.
Developing domestic, renewable sources of energy is a national priority, and in the Southeast, forest biomass is a potential source of renewable energy and fuel that also supports local economies.
Already, the Southeast is exporting thousands of tons of forest biomass to Europe in the form of wood pellets to be burned instead of coal. Forecasts for forest bioenergy suggest harvesting levels could grow by over 100 percent by 2050.
These harvests could also add to ecological stress caused by an expanding population, a warming climate, and spread of exotic plants and animals.
The Forest Guild used the best available science and professional judgment of on-the-ground foresters from the region to identify practices that ensure the forest can support wildlife, maintain biodiversity, provide clean water, sequester carbon, protect soil productivity, and continue to produce income for the long term.
The guidelines were developed by a working group of 16 Forest Guild members from the Southeast and aided by Forest Guild staff.
Together the working group identified practical and flexible targets for biomass retention.
The guidelines identify the forest conditions that call for specific amounts of logging residues to remain in the forest during biomass harvest as well as the numbers and sizes of dead and dying standing trees that are necessary to maintain wildlife habitat.
For more information, call 505-983-8992.