SAF Report Covers Carbon, Energy Benefits Of Forests and Biomass

A recent report provides new ideas surrounding carbon and energy benefits forests and forest products provide. The report, Managing Forests Because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy, summarizes and analyzes the most recent science regarding forests and carbon accounting, biomass use, and forest carbon offsets. The report emerged from the Society of […]

A recent report provides new ideas surrounding carbon and energy benefits forests and forest products provide. The report, Managing Forests Because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy, summarizes and analyzes the most recent science regarding forests and carbon accounting, biomass use, and forest carbon offsets.

The report emerged from the Society of American Foresters Task Force on Forest Climate Change Offsets and Use of Forest Biomass for Energy. A team of researchers from the U.S. Forest Service, several universities and natural resource and environmental organizations coauthored the report, which appears as a supplement to the October/November 2011 issue of the Society of American Forester’s Journal of Forestry.

“This work should help policymakers reconsider the critical impact forests have on our daily lives and the potential they have to solve problems that confront our nation,” says Bob Malmsheimer, lead author of the report and a professor at State University of New York (Syracuse) College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

The report suggests that U.S. environment and energy policies should be based on the following science findings:

•    Sustainably managed forests can provide carbon storage and substitution advantages while delivering a wide range of environmental and social benefits including timber and biomass resources, jobs, economic opportunities, clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreation.
•    Energy produced from forest biomass returns to the atmosphere carbon that plants absorbed in the relatively recent past; it essentially results in no net release of carbon as long as overall forest inventories are stable or increasing (as with U.S. forests).
•    Forest products used in place of energy-intensive materials such as metals, concrete, and plastics reduce carbon emissions (because forest products require less fossil fuel-based energy to produce and they also store carbon for a length of time based on their use and disposal), and they provide biomass residuals (i.e., waste wood) that can be substituted for fossil fuels to produce energy.
•    Fossil fuel-produced energy releases carbon into the atmosphere that has resided in the Earth for millions of years; forest biomass-based energy uses far less of the carbon stored in the earth, thereby reducing the flow of fossil fuel-based carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

Read the full report online at: http://www.safnet.org/documents/JOFSupplement.pdf

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