Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is Woody Biofuel a Carbon Neutral Source of Energy?

Dr Chuck Ray, Penn State School of Forest Resources recently posted to his Blog, entitled Go Wood, a story clarifying the issues surrounding the use of woody biomass and carbon neutrality.  I thought I would share it with my readers.  It brings to light some flaws in the findings of the recently published Monamet study in Massachusets.

In short, the inaccuracies lead to flawed findings, which have prompted sweeping policy changes in Massachusetts that threaten to wipe the use of woody biomass off the map in the state (Kilwa Biomass, Wood Energy News, Vol. 181, May 20, 2011).

Wood Biomass and Carbon Neutrality(Dr. Chuck Ray, Go Wood, May 19, 2011) For those of you who learned about the carbon cycle back in high school or college, you probably knew that the harvesting and use of wood is fundamentally a carbon-neutral process. Or you thought you knew that, until the concept of using biomass for energy became a topic of heated debate.

Now, we have claims both for and against the carbon-neutrality of wood energy almost daily in the news. There are stories like these, that make woody biomass out to be as bad or worse than fossil fuels. For the rest of the story click here.

Study points out inherent flaws in Manomet woody biomass study(Lisa Gibson, Biomass Power and Thermal, May 19, 2011)  A new study contradicting the findings of the well-known 2010 Massachusetts biomass study by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences points out inherent flaws and incorrect assumptions in the Manomet authors’ methodology. In short, the inaccuracies lead to flawed findings, which have prompted sweeping policy changes in Massachusetts that threaten to wipe the use of woody biomass off the map in the state.  For the full sory click here.

Monday, May 16, 2011

National Walk in the Woods Day!

2011 is recognized as the International Year of Forests by the United Nationas General Assembly.  It is a time to understand and learn to appreciate the role trees and forests play in our daily lives.  In conjunction with the Year of Forests, the American Forest Foundation is coordinating National Walk in the Woods Day on Saturday, May 21, 2011.  Their site provides some fun and exciting activities you can lead or participate in.  To seach for an event you can attend in your state click here.

I hope you will consider helping youth and adults alike to discover a forest and learn about its importance by participating in, or leading, a “walk in the woods.”  Be sure and share this day with others.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Guidelines for Upland Hardwood Stands With an Ash Component

With the impending emerald ash borer potentially impacting the entire state of Pennsylvania I thought I would share this with my readers.  We are often asked whether we should cut the ash now or wait.  Well, now we have some guidelines to go by thanks to the Michigan Society of American Foresters.  They have released a guide entitled "Silvicultural Guidelines for Upland Hardwoods with an Ash Component." 

This is a two-page PDF document, developed by the Michigan DNR, advises landowners to prepare for the emerald ash borer by working with forestry professionals to obtain a forest management plan that prescribes harvest practices designed to reduce, but not eliminate, the ash component of their upland hardwood stands.

(The Society of American Forester's E-Forester, May 6, 2011)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Conserving Working Forests

The Penn State Extension PA Forests Web Seminar Center will be providing a webinar entitled Conserving Working Forests.  The webinar will be provided on Tuesday, May 10 live at Noon and again at 7:00 PM.  The webinar will be recorded and posted to the seminar site in case you miss the live presentation.  To view previously offered and recorded webinars click here.

As Pennsylvania’s forestlands change ownership, they often also see a change in use.  What are some of the tools you can use as a private forest landowner to help ensure your forestland remains a working forest, even after it leaves your ownership?  This presentation will provide a very brief overview of who owns Pennsylvania’s private forestland, and some of the tools that are available to private landowners.  Presentation by Renee Carey, Executive Director, Northcentral Pennsylvania Conservancy.

Participants of the online seminar program must be registered and have a "Friend of Penn State" User ID and password.  To register click here.  If you already have a friend of Penn State account you can simply log into the site at the time of the webinar by clicking here.