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Pinchot focus areas:

Climate & Energy
Ensuring Forest Sustainability in the Development of Woodbased Bioenergy in the Interior West
2009 Regional Meeting: The Interior West
Hosted by Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado on October 7-8, the Pinchot Institute for Conservation and the Heinz Center convened a regional workshop to identify common goals
 and objectives for woody biomass utilization and 
bioenergy development in the Interior West. Workshop 
participants from across the West included representatives from the energy industry, forest products industry, federal land management agencies, state
 forestry agencies, conservation NGOs, and
 academia. As conveners of this meeting, and of the larger dialogue process, the Pinchot Institute and the Heinz Center approached questions on the sustainability of bioenergy development 
from a neutral standpoint, and managed discussions at the 
meeting to provide a fair hearing for all points made by the interested stakeholders. 

The workshop was intended to explore common views of how forest health restoration and wildfire management priorities may coincide or diverge from growing markets for woody biomass and the policies that support these markets. The dialogue at the Interior West workshop focused on: Defining biomass supplies within the context of management and restoration objectives; Defining restoration objectives through broad-based and collaborative determination; Exploring contractual and technological options for biomass removal and utilization; and, recognizing the implications for forest, climate and energy policy.

Panel and Presentations

Introduction. Ensuring Sustainability in the Development of Wood-based Bioenergy in the Interior West. V. Alaric Sample, Pinchot Institute for Conservation, and Tony Cheng, Colorado State University/Pinchot Institute [Download .pdf]

Panel 1: Providing reliable estimates of sustainable and available biomass supply.  What are the recent developments in methodologies for estimating sustainable woody biomass supplies (near-term, long-term) as a basis for siting new bioenergy/biofuels facilities?  What are the mechanisms for making woody biomass available from ecosystem restoration/stewardship activities on federal lands?

Panel 2.  Sustainability safeguards.  What safeguards are in place to ensure that biomass harvesting is done sustainably, and consistent with the management of other resource values and services?

  • Ethan Aumack, Grand Canyon Trust [Download .pdf]
  • Rob Davis, Forest Energy
  • Mark Benson, Potlatch
Panel 3:  Options for build-out of a sustainable wood bioenergy industry in the interior West. What are the options for developing a wood bioenergy industry that is flexible enough to adapt to differences between near-term and long-term biomass supplies from ecosystem restoration activities?  What mechanisms are needed to facilitate financial viability without creating economic dependency or raising risks of future disruptions in local economies?  What factors should be considered in matching the type of facility to local circumstances, in terms of community economic development goals and sustainable management of forest resources?  

  • Jay O’Laughlin, University of Idaho/Western Governors Association Forest Health Advisory Committee [Download .pdf]


Panel 4:  Western regional bioenergy strategy and lessons for renewable energy policy. What is the continuing role of federal and state renewable energy, economic, and natural resource policy in guiding development along optimal lines; what are the regional “lessons learned” that need to be reflected in flexible national renewable energy policies?

  • Marcia Patton-Mallory, Western Forestry Leadership Coalition/USDA Forest Service [Download .pdf]

  • Mike Debonis, Forest Guild/Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition (RVCC) [Download .pdf]
  • Angela Farr, Montana Department of Natural Resources/USDA Forest Service [Download .pdf]
  • Tony Cheng, Colorado State University/Pinchot Institute [Download .pdf]
Additional Documents:
  • Ensuring Forest Sustainability in the Development of Wood Biofuels and Bioenergy in the Interior West Summary [Download .pdf]
  • Ensuring Forest Sustainability in the Development of Wood Biofuels and Bioenergy in the Interior West Agenda [Download .pdf
  • Interior West Regional Meeting Participant List [Download .pdf]
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