Woody Biomass Utilization Benefits
The benefits of using, as opposed to disposing, woody biomass produced by hazardous fuels treatments, forest and range management, urban and disaster cleanup, and other activities are numerous, but have not been comprehensively identified or economically quantified.
The utilization of woody biomass has numerous direct and indirect societal, economic, and environmental benefits. Some of these benefits are:
- Improves air quality, visibility, and public health by reducing the smoke created by burning woody biomass.
- Reduces the cost of hazardous fuels treatments, which indirectly reduces wildfires. Wildfire prevention enhances or preserves wildlife habitat and watersheds, avoids smoke and fire-related health and safety issues, protects property and recreational values, and avoids the costs of fire suppression and rehabilitation.
- Reduces the cost of healthy forest and range management by providing a market for insect or disease-infested trees, invasive species, and other woody biomass removed.
- Provides renewable fuel for clean energy while saving landfill space, reducing waste, and mitigating the need for additional landfill construction. Bioenergy provides enhanced energy independence, security and reliability, rural economic development, and a reduction in greenhouse gases and other pollutants associated with fossil fuels.
- Creates economic opportunities in the community.
- Lowers greenhouse gas emissions over fossil fuels, because the carbon dioxide released when woody biomass is burned is balanced out by new, carbon-sequestering biomass growing in its place. Durable wood products from biomass continue to store carbon absorbed by trees when they were growing.
Tools and Resources
- The DOE Poplar Genome Based Research for Carbon Sequestration in Terrestrial Ecosystems - This program conducts basic research to obtain scientific understanding to help select, breed, or manage trees to meaningfully enhance long-term biological carbon sequestration in forested ecosystems.
Reports & Documents
- The Value of the Benefits of U.S. Biomass Power (NREL/SR-570-27541) (PDF, 0.5 MB) - This report describes an attempt to estimate the value of the ancillary services provided by biomass power generation, in order to provide policy makers with a yardstick against which to judge the cost of policy interventions that might preserve the viability of the biomass power industry.
- The Carbon Cycle, Forestry Never Looked So Cool (PDF, 357 KB) - A poster displaying and describing the carbon cycle, available from The Forest Foundation.
- Biomass Benefits 101 - This presentation provides basic information regarding benefits of woody biomass utilization.
- Biomass Benefits 101 (PDF, 1.0 MB)
- Biomass Benefits 101 (.ppt, 2.9 MB) - Microsoft PowerPoint version, to be used for training purposes.
- Biomass Utilization Communications Tool Background Information (PDF, 33 KB) - Biomass Benefits 101 background paper.
- UWTV Series: Denman Forestry Issues - Produced by the University of Washington Television (UWTV), University of Washington College of Forest Resources, a webcast providing information about timely forestry and natural resources issues. The Denman Forestry Issues series includes programs about bioenery, biofuels, and other related topics.