A bitter harvest for wood products (8/22/2010)
The Register Guard
To an industry toughened by three decades of hard knocks, this is still a body blow. The Oregon timber harvest in 2009 was the lowest since the middle of the Great Depression at 2.75 billion board feet, according to a new report by state forest economist Gary Lettman. And the bad news for the industry doesn’t end…
EE News (subscription required)
Reducing forest fire risk by thinning thickets of understory can have many benefits for communities, but in the short term, providing carbon offsets for this does not appear to be justified, according to government-funded research to be published this fall. During the past four years, a team of researchers tried to quantify how removing smaller fuels from forests and conducting prescribed burns helps stave off intense wildfires and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If carbon…
Post Carbon Institute, August 2010
The scramble for alternatives is on. High oil prices, growing concerns over energy security, and the threat of climate change have all stimulated investment in the development of alternatives to conventional oil. Trouble is, many of those scrambling can’t see the forest for the trees and are headed straight for low-hanging limbs, not fruit. In his just-released report, “Nine Challenges of Alternative Energy” Lawrence Berkeley staff scientist David Fridley assesses the obvious yet too often overlooked obstacles to the widespread deployment of alternative energies around the world.
Pew Center on Global Climate Change, July 2010
Any climate and energy legislation will impact U.S. farmers and ranchers, and this paper examines the many legitimate concerns the agriculture sector has with such legislation. There have been a large number of economic analyses, modeling exercises, and reports published in the past several months based on an array of climate policy assumptions, and the resulting scenarios have ranged from realistic to doomsday. The results of these efforts have often been skewed or cherry-picked to support particular arguments. This brief tries to objectively assess the impacts of climate legislation and identify ways that such legislation could be shaped to provide greater opportunities for the sector. U.S. farmers have long exhibited adaptability and entrepreneurship in the face of changing circumstances, and they will be presented with a host of new markets and opportunities with the advent of climate and energy legislation.
USDA, December 2009
Over half (56 percent) of America’s private forests are privately owned and provide a vast array of public goods and services, such as clean water, timber, wildlife habitat, and recreational opportunities. These critical benefits are being affected by increased housing density in areas across the country. Private Forests, Public Benefits, a USDA Forest Service publication, estimates that housing density will increase on more than 57 million acres of America’s private rural forests from 2000 to 2030. In many areas, the impacts of increased housing density are likely to be exacerbated by additional threats such as wildfire, insect pests and diseases, and air pollution.