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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

Great forestry includes low-grade timber markets for biomass

Originally published in The Commons issue #425 (Wednesday, September 13, 2017). This story appeared on page E2.



As a consulting forester helping landowners manage thousands of acres of forest land across Massachusetts, I support more utilization of forest biomass because without low-grade timber markets, we cannot practice great forestry.

This movie Burned is nothing more than anti-forestry propaganda. We do not clear-cut forests for biomass. Only junk wood is chipped.

Biomass is, in essence, stored solar energy and is a byproduct of our forestry operations, all of which allows us to grow more high-quality saw timber, which is the main product.

Increased markets for forest biomass have produced more forest-improvement cuttings that help landowners:

• manage their woodlots to a high standard by greatly improving timber quality and species composition;

• improve wildlife habitat;

• generate income;

• increase property values as well as timber values;

• encourage landowners to keep their land in forest.

Biomass markets and improvement cuttings also provide many real green jobs right up the wood-supply chain and help to provide many forest products for consumers and a source of clean, locally produced, renewable energy.

The use of wood for energy is carbon neutral as long as the forests are growing faster than they are being cut. Here in Massachusetts, that is the case. There are numerous studies that show the great carbon benefits of biomass utilization.

We need more markets for forest biomass, especially in those areas that have no access to any significant low-grade timber markets. We need to stop all renewable energy credits for forest-and-field-destroying, made-in-China toxic solar “farms” and mountain-ecosystem-destroying and bird-shredding wind “farms.”

Those credits should be redirected to locally produced and sustainable biomass so we can create more local jobs and improve more of our forest land.

Mike Leonard

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