Will harvesting woody biomass improve or reduce forest health?

Wood Energy March 12, 2010 Print Friendly and PDF
It depends. Harvesting woody biomass provides opportunities to improve forest health by removing diseased, damaged, off-site species and otherwise cull trees that utilize space and resources. Removal of these trees results in better access to site resources for the healthier, better-quality trees. Harvesting woody biomass can also improve stand structure which can lead to improved forest health and reduced risk from wildfire. Harvesting for any products should be done with forest health in mind. Some considerations may include avoiding or limiting damage to soils and to trees that remain standing. Contributed by NCSU Extension Forestry and used with permission by authors.

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There are many factors that help determine the use woody biomass for energy production.  Below we consider the decision-making points involved in the process.  

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.