Woody biomass should be responsibly sourced in order to achieve all the benefits that this valuable fuel can offer.
Sourcing considerations include:
- Sustainability of supply.
- Scaling supply and utilization to a carbon positive market.
- Protecting existing old growth stands for continued forest function and carbon storage.
- Focusing on young growth treatments that improve habitat and forest function, and that promote carbon sequestration.
- Utilizing wood by-products after sorting for highest value to ensure that biomass does not compete with the production of durable wood products (e.g. lumber, shakes, etc.). (Durable wood products are critical for green building materials and long term carbon storage).
- Utilizing dead wood (after in-stand, dead wood retention targets are met), and waste wood (e.g. mill waste, slash from restoration treatments, etc.) rather than healthy live trees, which will continue to sequester carbon.
- Utilizing wood by-products from prescriptions and/or treatments that mimic natural disturbance regimes, with an ongoing monitoring and adaptive management plan.
- Utilizing wood by-products from areas with existing roads and infrastructure (e.g., LTFs, landings, etc.) rather than from areas that will require new construction.
- Adhering to the Tongass Land Management Plan (2008) – Standards and Guides.
Other regions in the United States have developed standards and guidelines for wood fuel sourcing.
These standards and guidelines include parameters that address:
- Dead wood retention – coarse, fine, and snags
- Wildlife and biodiversity – wildlife, sensitive species, biodiversity, plants, and sensitive areas
- Water quality and riparian zones – water quality, riparian zones, erosion, wetlands
- Soil productivity – nutrients, physical disturbance, and protection of litter layer
- Silviculture – planning, sustained yield over multiple rotations, regeneration, residual stand, post-operation, re-entry, and layout
- Disturbance – invasives