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Assessing bioenergy harvest risks: Geospatially explicit tools for maintaining soil productivity in western US forests

Posted date: September 30, 2011
Publication Year: 
2011
Authors: Kimsey, Mark Jr.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; Coleman, Mark
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: Forests. 2: 797-813.

Abstract

Biomass harvesting for energy production and forest health can impact the soil resource by altering inherent chemical, physical and biological properties. These impacts raise concern about damaging sensitive forest soils, even with the prospect of maintaining vigorous forest growth through biomass harvesting operations. Current forest biomass harvesting research concurs that harvest impacts to the soil resource are region- and site-specific, although generalized knowledge from decades of research can be incorporated into management activities. Based upon the most current forest harvesting research, we compiled information on harvest activities that decrease, maintain or increase soil-site productivity. We then developed a soil chemical and physical property risk assessment within a geographic information system for a timber producing region within the Northern Rocky Mountain ecoregion. Digital soil and geology databases were used to construct geospatially explicit best management practices to maintain or enhance soil-site productivity. The proposed risk assessments could aid in identifying resilient soils for forest land managers considering biomass operations, policy makers contemplating expansion of biomass harvesting and investors deliberating where to locate bioenergy conversion facilities.

Citation

Kimsey, Mark, Jr.; Page-Dumroese, Deborah; Coleman, Mark. 2011. Assessing bioenergy harvest risks: Geospatially explicit tools for maintaining soil productivity in western US forests. Forests. 2: 797-813.