Is Biomass Power from Forests a Good Idea?
Just what America's forests need – the burden of powering America's insatiable energy use. Use of forest materials as biomass energy sources is a slippery slope indeed. When America's forests have already been ravaged by over-development, what reason is there to believe that this will not exacerbate forest fragmentation and diminishment? Once established, the past shows such an industry would surely overwhelm the resource base. To pursue forest biomass energy production will almost certainly lead to more natural forest loss, increased pressures upon endangered forests including old-growth (even if indirectly), and more herbicide laden monoculture genetically modified tree plantations. Perhaps America would be better off in pursuing energy conservation and truly renewable energy sources.
Biomass: power from the forests
Californians face both a serious energy crisis and dangerously overcrowded forests. These challenges may share a potential solution: biomass energy. There's power in trees. Power in their branches and in the fiber left over from turning trees into lumber, furniture, and everything else for which we use these renewable resources.