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Forest Biomass Harvesting in the Northeast: A Special-Needs Operation?

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There is growing interest in harvesting forest biomass to meet the needs of bioenergy and bioproducts facilities in the Northeast. This interest is accompanied by increased concern over the potential impacts of biomass removals on forest ecosystems. Debates over biomass proposals have revealed a considerable level of confusion over the term biomass harvest, much of which stems from ambiguity surrounding the term forest biomass. Indeed, all forest material removed during harvest is forest biomass, yet many view only a small portion of this—typically low-value chipped material—as biomass. Since much of this material is destined for use as energy, we feel that communication among the public, foresters, academics, and industry representatives would improve by referring to forest biomass of this nature as what it really is: energy wood. Once terms are clarified, it is easier to understand how concerns with market dynamics, soil productivity, water quality, and forest biodiversity can be addressed through forest policy development.

Keywords: bioenergy; bioproducts; energy wood; forest policy; timber harvesting

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: June 1, 2010

More about this publication?
  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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