Agricultural Residues For Biomass Projects

by George
(Nova Scotia, Canada)

It’s my understanding that biomass to energy projects are typically fueled with agricultural residues or wood wastes, but not with whole trees specifically harvested for that purpose.

Whole-tree harvesting for that purpose, however, is
occurring in Nova Scotia and it is being conducted in a very destructive way.

This brings into question the whole concept of large scale biomass to energy projects as a “carbon neutral” environmentally friendly method for producing energy.

The harvesting in Nova Scotia has drawn the ire of Canadian environmental organizations that are seeking legislative protection to stop this practice.

The situation in Nova Scotia is made worse by the fact that vast areas are being clear-cut, habitat is being destroyed, and watersheds are being endangered.

Furthermore, the lands on which this is occurring are owned by a US company that is operating under a forestry certification program sponsored by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).

The Canadian environmental organization, Ecology Action Centre, has accused SFI of greenwashing. Neither SFI nor the land owner has responded to these charges.

I’ve been a proponent of biomass to energy projects fueled with residual organic waste. If the perception grows that biomass-energy projects contribute to forest destruction, an environmentally beneficial technology may be cast in a
bad light.

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