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Report: Large-scale forest biomass energy not sustainable

Large-scale production could sacrifice forest ecosystem integrity and actually lead to higher greenhouse gas emissions

Forest biomass questioned as fuel source.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Large-scale use of forest biomass for energy production may be unsustainable and is likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions in the long run, according to a new study.

The research was done by the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Germany, Oregon State University, and other universities in Switzerland, Austria and France. The work was supported by several agencies in Europe and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The results show that a significant shift to forest biomass energy production would create a ubstantial risk of sacrificing forest integrity and sustainability with no guarantee that it would mitigate climate change,” according to the researchers. Continue reading

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New research helps track forest role in carbon cycle

NASA satellites are already used to track wildfires from space. New work from the European Space Agency will help pinpoint forest biomass and carbon data critical for measuring climate change impacts.

Ground-based studies, satellite data mesh to provide more accurate  forest biomass data

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — With global warming and beetle-killed forests near the top of many environmental agendas, the role of forests as carbon sinks, where heat-trapping greenhouse gases are stored, has become increasingly important.

U.S. forests absorb about 750 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, and the U.S. Forest Service says managing forest resources to optimize carbon storage is essential in mitigating the effects of climate change. But millions of acres of trees have been killed by beetles, with millions more expected to die in the next few years. Those forest areas no longer absorb and store carbon dioxide — they actually become net producers of greenhouse gases as the wood decays.

Managing forest lands to mitigate increased emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases is an important part of an overall strategy to adapt to climate change, but requires accurate information. A pair of recent research projects may help establish some of that baseline data. Continue reading

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