Caption: Keeping forests
as forests prevents greenhouse gas emissions. But active forest
management provides even more
climate benefits. (Credit: T. Iraci)
High resolution photo
PORTLAND, Ore. November 9, 2011. A recent report provides new
ideas surrounding carbon and energy benefits forests and forest
products provide. The report, Managing
Forests Because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and
Land Management Policy, summarizes
and analyzes the most recent science regarding forests and carbon
accounting, biomass use, and forest carbon offsets.
A team of researchers from the U.S. Forest
Service, several universities, and natural resource and environmental
organizations coauthored the
report, which appears as a supplement to the October/November 2011
issue of the Society of American Forester’s Journal of Forestry.
This work should help policymakers reconsider the critical impact
forests have on our daily lives and the potential they have to
solve problems that confront our Nation,” says Bob Malmsheimer,
lead author of the report and a professor at State University
of New York
(Syracuse) College of Environmental Science and Forestry. “We
believe our science-based findings should lead toward positive
reforms that encourage investment in this vital renewable resource.”
report suggests that U.S. environment and energy policies should
be based on the following science findings:
- Sustainably managed forests
can provide carbon storage and substitution advantages while
delivering a wide range of environmental
benefits including timber and biomass resources, jobs, economic
opportunities, clean water, wildlife habitat, and recreation.
produced from forest biomass returns to the atmosphere carbon
that plants absorbed in the relatively recent past; it essentially
results in no net release of carbon as long as overall forest
inventories are stable or increasing (as with U.S. forests).
- Forest products used
in place of energy-intensive materials such as metals, concrete,
and plastics reduce carbon emissions (because
forest products require less fossil fuel-based energy to produce
and they also store carbon for a length of time based on their
use and disposal), and they provide biomass residuals (i.e., waste wood)
that can be substituted for fossil fuels to produce energy.
fuel-produced energy releases carbon into the atmosphere that
has resided in the Earth for millions of years; forest biomass-based
energy uses far less of the carbon stored in the Earth, thereby
reducing the flow of fossil fuel-based carbon emissions to the atmosphere.
“Perhaps this report will inspire fresh efforts to find
management strategies that folks can agree on,” says coauthor
and Forest Service scientist Jeremy Fried. “The forest inventory
and analysis data collected by the Forest Service on all forested
U.S. provided the data necessary to explore how forests can be
managed to provide climate benefits. Full life-cycle analyses of
show that the best opportunity for these forests to provide even
more climate benefits requires a combination of factors. Those
factors are: sustainably managed forests, a healthy market for
forest products, and renewable energy generated from forest and
The report emerged from the Society of American
Foresters Task Force on Forest Climate Change Offsets and Use
of Forest Biomass
Authors include Robert Malmsheimer, State University of New York
(Syracuse) College of Environmental Science and Forestry; James
Bowyer, Professor Emeritus of University of Minnesota; Jeremy
Forest Service; Edmund Gee, U.S. Forest Service; Robert Izlar,
University of Georgia; Reid Miner, National Council for Air and
Ian Munn, Mississippi State University; Elaine Oneil, University
of Washington; and William Stewart, University of California-Berkeley.
the paper online at http://www.safnet.org/documents/JOFSupplement.pdf.
Caption: Substituting woody-residue-sourced
bioenergy for fossil fuels confers immediate, and permanent,
climate benefits. (Credit:
Caption: Converting forests to other uses, whether agriculture
or housing, leads to carbon emissions and immediate loss
of further carbon sequestration. (Credit: D. Brown)
High resolution photo
The PNW Research Station is headquartered in Portland, Oregon.
It has 11 laboratories and centers located in Alaska, Oregon,
and Washington and about 425 employees.