Fuel Treatments & Effects
Almost a million tons of biomass left over after thinning designed to reduce hazardous fuels and increase tree vigor, thus decreasing susceptibility to insects and disease, could provide significant small business opportunities in the Bitterroot Valley. Researchers with the Forest Service Economics Research Work Unit and the University of Montana are exploring opportunities to use forest waste material for industrial and public facilities. An example would be the biomass heating systems recently installed in the Darby and Victor, MT school districts. Biomass utilization 1) encourages sustainable community development, 2) reduces environmental effects associated with open burning of excess forest fuels, and 3) defrays costs of necessary hazardous fuel reduction treatments on public and private lands. Biomass utilization can help the Forest Service achieve its goal of reducing hazardous fuels.