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Guidelines for Forest Biomass Utilization

How much forest biomass to leave behind or remove Shawn Grushesky, West Virginia University Appalachian Hardwood Center Snapshot : Online resource offers environmentally and economically sound biomass utilization in the Appalachian Mountains

Principal Investigators(s) :
Adams, Mary Beth 
Research Location : Appalachian Mountain region
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2012
Highlight ID : 55


Forest biomass is an increasingly important resource for renewable energy in the Appalachian Mountains. Understanding the potential effects on ecosystem productivity is necessary for researchers and policymakers to develop guidelines for sustainable development of this resource. Forest Service scientists and cooperators have synthesized and published existing data and information and made it available with an online bibliography.

Increased demand for woody biomass in the forest-rich Appalachian Mountain region can be met, at least in part, by improved use of forest resources. Relatively little research has evaluated the effects of such forest biomass harvesting on site productivity, biodiversity, water quality, and other measures of ecosystem productivity, and new information about these and other related topics is not readily available.

The implications for the sustainability of Appalachian hardwood forests from additional woody biomass removal for the production of woody biomass-related energy were assessed, and the possible effects on site productivity, water quality, wildlife, biodiversity, and wood supply were evaluated. The Forest Service scientists and partners have synthesized published literature and ongoing studies to develop management guidelines for minimizing the effects of woody biomass utilization on the sustainability of Appalachian hardwood forests.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • LP Corporation
  • National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI)
  • West Virginia University, Appalachian Hardwood Center