Forests are emerging as an important source of renewable energy. That’s according to Janaki Alavalapati, head of the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech. He said that harvesting biomass – trees and plants – for fuel might improve the health of forests.
Janaki Alavalapati: These bioenergy markets are going to offer an opportunity for us to utilize small-diameter wood, so that means this market is going to stimulate thinning operations.
Alavalapati said that removing some trees from forests can be beneficial. He added that, when a forest has too many trees, there’s a high risk of wildfire and pests.
Janaki Alavalapati: It’s very difficult to provide a conducive habitat for wildlife. So by carefully managing these stands, by taking out some small-diameter wood, there might be a big benefit in terms of promoting biodiversity.
Alavalapati stressed that good policies are needed to manage forests for energy use. He expressed concern over how intensively trees might be harvested for fuel, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers to promote forest growth.
Janaki Alavalapati: If no attention is paid, there might be problems in terms of water quality and quantity, soil erosion, long-term soil productivity loss, all those things are going to be at stake.
Our thanks today to the American Forest Foundation, leading the way in conservation and education.
Our thanks to Janaki Alavalapati
Janaki Alavalapati is a professor of Forest Resource Economics and Policy and head of the Department of Forestry at Virginia Tech University. With an advanced degree in Forest Economics, his research focuses on exploring market solutions for natural resources, energy, and environmental problems/issues at local, regional, and international level.
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