Turning Trees into Bioenergy: What are the Effects on Soil?

Timber has been harvested for hundreds of years, but current bioenergy operations use more parts of a tree than ever before; small branches that used to be considered non-merchantable are now often harvested instead of left rotting on the forest floor. “The increased use of small branches and formerly non-merchantable wood has been linked to changes in…  More 

How Sustainable are Eucalyptus Plantations?

Eucalypts – woody plants originally found in Australia — have been identified as one of the best feedstocks for bioenergy production due to their fast-growth rate and coppicing ability, but there are concerns about adverse environmental effects, some related to water consumption, and their water use efficiency is still poorly understood. U.S. Forest Service research…  More 

Increasing Our Knowledge of Small Woody Biomass Harvesting

U.S. Forest Service research helped the George Washington and Jefferson National Forests move forward in implementing a new forest plan by setting up studies to address stakeholder concerns about the effects of harvesting for biomass feedstocks. The Lower Cowpasture Restoration and Management Project proposed for the Warm Springs Ranger District and the George Washington and…  More 

Renewable Energy Policies Drive Production of Southern Wood Pellets for Bioenergy

A recently released study led by U.S. Forest Service scientists and published by the Forest Service’s Southern Research Station (SRS) finds that policies in the European Union (EU) and elsewhere requiring the use of renewable and low greenhouse gas-emitting energy are driving demand for wood pellets used to generate bioenergy. This demand could provide new…  More 

A Future for Freeze-Tolerant Eucalyptus in the South?

Recently published research by U.S. Forest Service scientists provides important first-time analyses of the potential impacts of introducing plantations of freeze-tolerant Eucalyptus into the South. Eucalyptus, a fast-growing tree native to Australia and Indonesia, is planted across large areas of Asia, Africa, and South America as a major source of hardwood fiber for paper and…  More 

Harvesting Southern Pines for Bioenergy: Potential Impacts on Soil

Soils are the foundation of the forested ecosystem, producing timber and clean water while supporting biodiversity and storing carbon. A new study led by U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientist D. Andrew Scott examines how harvesting for bioenergy affects soil ecosystem services in loblolly pine plantations. Many southern pine stands are being harvested…  More 

Scull Shoals Experimental Forest

  The 4,500-acre Scull Shoals Experimental Forest (Scull Shoals) near Athens, Georgia, has served as the site of silvicultural research studies since the 1930s. In 1959, when the experimental forest was officially designated part of the Oconee National Forest, researchers started studies on the role of fire in silviculture, the development of wildlife habitat, and…  More 

Wood2Energy Database Provides Latest Information on Biomass Facilities

Just last year, archeaologists found evidence that pre-humans burned wood as long ago as two million years. Since prehistoric times, people have relied on wood for fuel. In recent years, there’s been growing interest in using woody biomass, a renewable energy source, as an alternative to fossil fuel. The Wood2Energy project grew from the need to assess the state…  More 

The Bioenergy Balancing Act

Wood-based energy has been proposed as an alternative to fossil energy sources such as coal and natural gas, a way to reduce the carbon emissions that lead to atmospheric warming and changing climatic conditions. But debate continues about whether substituting wood for natural gas or coal actually reduces emissions, and how long it takes for…  More 

International Student Visitor Arrives in Auburn for Forest Service Internship

Wellington Cardoso, an undergraduate student from Brazil, arrived in Auburn, Alabama, this past January to begin an internship with the U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station. “Cardoso will play a major role in studying a biomass harvesting operation,” says Dana Mitchell, project leader of the Forest Operations research unit, which is hosting Cardoso. The operation…  More