Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Forest Guild Breaks New Ground on Sustainable Biomass Policy

The Forest Guild, a national non-profit forestry organization, has developed a policy framework for biomass that brings together interests of forest owners, forest managers, loggers, conservationists and others. The policy was developed because the demand for renewable energy demands may ultimately put unsustainably demands on our nation's forests.

The policy addresses four critical issues: 1. Assurances for sustainability; 2. Highest and best utilization of biomass for energy; 3. Climate change mitigation; and 4. Biomass removal on public lands.

One of the key findings is that "appropriately scaled, community-based uses for biomass developed through a collaborative process yield significant benefits for rural communities and reduce concerns about sustainability. Community-based uses are typically thermal or combined heat and power (CHP) applications and yield far greater energy efficiencies than stand-alone electrical generating facilities or liquid biofuels production."

With regard to climate change, the policy statement concludes "forest biomass can play an important role in mitigating climate change when biomass comes from source forests that are managed to sustain forest health, productivity, function, structure, composition and carbon stocks." However, "once the biomass leaves the forest, its effectiveness as a renewable energy source ... will depend on its use and method of combustion." For the complete policy, click here.

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