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Thinning combined with biomass energy production impacts fire-adapted forests in western United States and may increase greenhouse gas emissions

Author(s): Dominick A. DellaSala, M. Koopman
Year Published: 2018
Description:

Biomass energy produced as a byproduct of forest clearing is increasingly being advocated in the western United States as a “win-win” for reducing fire risks and replacing fossil fuels. Many assumptions that justify thinning and biomass approaches, however, need to be substantiated to determine whether they are in fact ecologically appropriate and carbon neutral. Due to the global urgency for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and limiting climate change impacts, wide-scale forest thinning and energy production from forest biomass without sufficient safeguards is a highly risky strategy for limiting climate change with potentially irreversible consequences to fire-adapted forests and greenhouse gas emissions. We propose 11 principles for reducing co-lateral ecosystem damages from widespread fuels treatments and conditions under which biomass utilization may be more effectively mitigated.

Citation: DellaSala, Dominick A.; Koopman, M. 2018. Thinning combined with biomass energy production impacts fire-adapted forests in western United States and may increase greenhouse gas emissions. Encyclopedia of the Anthropocene 1:491-498. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809665-9.09587-2
Topic(s): Fire & Climate, Carbon Sequestration
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Book or Chapter or Journal Article
NRFSN number: 17270
FRAMES RCS number: 25396
Record updated: May 24, 2018