Research shows well-managed forests better than carbon neutral
(Mpls, MN) – A new report from Dovetail Partners evaluates the life cycle impacts of forest management and bioenergy. The report reviews new research findings addressing the potential role of forests in bioenergy development in the context of sustainable forest management.
“A comprehensive review of research conducted over the past decade reveals convergence in findings that sustainably managed forests can be ‘better than carbon neutral,’ yielding a range of useful products, including energy, while at the same time providing significant carbon storage and emission reduction benefits,” said Dr. Jim Bowyer, Director of Dovetail’s Responsible Materials Program and lead author for the report.
There is great interest today in expanding the use of wood as a source of energy. The growing interest in wood energy has led to discussions about long-term forest sustainability and the role of forests in carbon mitigation and climate change. Given the many values of forests it is important to carefully evaluate the carbon implications of using wood for bioenergy.
“The potential for increased energy production from forest biomass is but one piece of a larger picture involving a full range of products and services from sustainably managed forests,” says Bowyer. He notes that forests managed so as to balance product outputs with ecosystem needs and social values maximize the rate of carbon capture, serve as a stable repository for carbon, and provide useful materials that store carbon outside of the forest. The net result is greater carbon capture and storage than can be achieved in an unmanaged forest.
“Management of a renewable resource creates unique opportunities for sustainability. Trees are renewable resources. Enough wood has been grown in the United States in the past 60 years to build more than 90 million homes - and at the same time the volume of wood within America’s forests has increased by more than 50 percent. Our forests have continued to grow through management, tree growth and renewal,” said Kathryn Fernholz, Executive Director for Dovetail Partners.
The article from Dovetail Partners provides an overview of forest bioenergy evaluations and a brief summary of the recent report Life Cycle Impacts of Forest Management and Wood Utilization on Carbon Mitigation: Knowns and Unknowns (1).
The report from Dovetail Partners is available online at:
The direct link to download the report is:
(1) Lippke, B., Oneil, E., Harrison, R., Skog, K., Gustavsson, L, and Sathre, R. 2011. Life Cycle Impacts of Forest Management and Wood Utilization on Carbon Mitigation: Knowns and Unknowns. Future Science 2(3): 303-333.
(http://soilslab.cfr.washington.edu/publications/Lippke-etal-2011-CarbonLifeCycle.pdf <http://soilslab.cfr.washington.edu/publications/Lippke-etal-2011-CarbonLifeCycle.pdf> )
About Dovetail Partners
Dovetail Partners is a Minnesota-based non-profit organization that provides authoritative information about the impacts and trade-offs of environmental decisions, including consumption choices, land use, and policy alternatives.