Forest Biomass

Nova Scotia squanders its forest resources, Minga O’Brien, Chronicle Herald, 27 Feb, 2015.

Advancing Woody Biomass Options in Nova Scotia: Are researchers oblivious to or purposely ignoring a long history of poor forestry practices in Nova Scotia?, Minga O’Brien, 2015 (in the Januray edition of The Blue Heron, beginning on page 6)

Silvicultural and Ecological Impacts of Conventional Forestry and Forest Biomass Harvesting at the Stand and Landscape Levels: A Literature Review, AK Service, 2009. From the introduction: “The objective of this literature review is to provide a description of the current state of knowledge of the impacts of forest harvesting and silviculture on forest ecosystem structure and function, with a particular emphasis on harvesting for biomass in the Acadian Forest Region (Northern Appalachian/Acadian Eco-Region).”

Trees, Trash, and Toxics: How Biomass Energy Has Become the
New Coal
, Mary S. Booth, 2014.  Based on this review of 88 biomass power plant permits in the US, the author says “Biomass power plants are disproportionately polluting not just because of their low efficiency (in converting heat to electrical output) and high emissions inherent in burning wood for energy, but also because the bioenergy industry exploits and actually depends on important loopholes in the Clean Air Act and its enforcement, loopholes that make bioenergy far more polluting than it would be if it were regulated like fossil fuels.”

Review of literature on biogenic carbon and life cycle assessment of forest bioenergy, Forest Research, 2014. From the executive summary: “…a review of scientific literature on the contributions of ‘biogenic carbon’ to GHG emissions due to the production and use of bioenergy, and how these contributions may be appropriately included in methodologies for calculating GHG emissions. The review is concerned primarily with woody biomass harvested from forests for use as bioenergy…”

Forest biomass will not reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Several submissions by David Patriquin to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board for the 2010 hearings regarding initial approval of the Point Tupper biomass facility. For a full account of these hearings, including official records, intervenors’ submissions, press reports, and documents related to a similar controversy in Massachusetts, see this website.

Forest Biomass Energy Policy in the Maritime Provinces: Accounting for Science, a recent report on biomass from East Coast Environmental Law (December 2015). Also see media summaries of the report from the Chronicle Herald and the CBC.

Feeding the Fire: Biomass and Nova Scotia’s Race for the Bottom, an online article by Linda Pannozzo in the Halifax Examiner,  March 4, 2016. Pannozzo has since reported on obstruction by DNR of her attempts to get information about DNR’s monitoring information on the health of Nova Scotia’s forests (see a Halifax Examiner article and an open letter of complaint to ‎Information and Privacy Commissioner for Nova Scotia, Catherine Tully).

It’s Too Big, short documentary by filmmaker Peter Murphy about biomass harvesting and the Point Tupper biomass turbine, featuring interviews with forest ecologist Bob Bancroft and forest harvester Danny George (9 minutes).

Why Coal Produces “Greener” Electricity than Biomass in Nova Scotia, a poster illustrating the higher greenhouse gas emissions from biomass than from coal when used to make electricity, by Peter Ritchie.

Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study, A report on the scientific, economic and technological issues related to the use of forest biomass for generating electricity in Massachusetts. From the summary: “The study provides analysis of three key energy and environmental policy questions that are being asked as the state develops its policies on the use of forest biomass.1. What are the atmospheric greenhouse gas implications of shifting energy production from fossil fuel sources to forest biomass? 2. How much wood is available from forests to support biomass energy development in Massachusetts? 3. What are the potential ecological impacts of increased biomass harvests on forests in the Commonwealth, and what if any policies are needed to ensure these harvests are sustainable?” Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

Dirtier than coal? Why Government plans to subsidise burning trees are bad news for the planet, a critical analysis of the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change proposals to subsidise large-scale electricity generation using forest biomass. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Friends of the Earth, and Greenpeace.

Sound Principles and an Important Inconsistency in the 2012 UK Bioenergy Strategy, a description of the accounting errors made by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change, despite its own principles, in justifying the burning of forest biomass to generate electricity. Tim Searchinger.