Manomet Biomass Study Discussion

Discussions related to Biomass Energy Production.

Moderators: edfrank, dbhguru

Mike Leonard
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:42 pm

Manomet Biomass Study Discussion

Post by Mike Leonard » Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:55 pm

To All:

A new study was just published by the University of Idaho thoroughly debunking the flawed Manomet Biomass Study.
The full report is here: http://www.cnrhome.uidaho.edu/documents ... 9711&doc=1

Here are some excerpts with some commentary:

Accounting for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wood Bioenergy

Response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Call for Information, Including Partial Review of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences’ Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study

by Jay O’Laughlin
Professor of Forestry and Policy Sciences
Director of the College of Natural Resources Policy Analysis Group
University of Idaho

Highlights:

Peer review of PAG work is absolutely essential for ensuring not only technical accuracy but also impartiality and fairness. That's great but why hasn't the Manomet Study been peer reviewed?

The utilization of woody biomass to produce energy is accompanied by concerns about sustainable forest management and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from burning biomass.

A novel (debt & dividend) approach is presented in the Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.

The “debt-then-dividend” model is flawed by time and space restrictions. The carbon cycle does not begin at the time a tree dies, rather it is continuous; wood utilization requires many, many stands sustained over a long period of time, not one stand over four decades as in the Manomet Center study report. The study report also purposely ignores wood products carbon pools and the benefit of avoided GHG emissions from substituting wood products for concrete and steel, which consume large amounts of fossil fuel energy in their production. The benefit of wood substitution is that fossil fuels stay in the ground, and their emissions are avoided.

Although the Manomet Center study report recognizes that “all bioenergy technologies―even biomass electric power compared to natural gas electric―look favorable when biomass ‘wastewood’ is compared to fossil fuel alternatives” , analysis focuses on whole-tree biomass harvesting. The report perplexingly claims that until trees regrow and recapture carbon from the atmosphere, coal is a better choice than wood for producing electricity. The study report also rejects the accepted convention that burning biomass to create energy results in a zero net GHG emissions increase; i.e., the rest of the world considers bioenergy is a low-carbon source of renewable energy, but the Manomet Center report does not.

Not only did Manomet reject accepted convention, but they only looked at one part of the equation!

The buildup of atmospheric carbon problem is a long-term problem, so a long-term sustainable approach is appropriate; a short-term measurement of stack emissions approach is not. A definitive life-cycle analysis would help identify environmental tradeoffs as policymakers sort through the alternatives for future energy production.

One approach is to have facilities that burn biomass to produce energy report how much biomass they burn, and where the biomass comes from. If it is from mill residues or forest residues (i.e., logging slash or pre-commercial thinnings with no value as wood products feedstocks) then there is no reason to “cap” these emissions as these biomass sources would otherwise release carbon into the atmosphere in the near future anyway.

EXACTLY! So we don't need any regulations!

Box 1 identifies points that policymakers should keep in front of them while considering what to do about bioenergy emissions.
Box 1

Some Things about Forest Carbon Accounting Policymakers Need to Know

1. Trees and other plants absorb (uptake) CO2 from the atmosphere.

2. Young trees grow faster and uptake CO2 more rapidly than old trees.

3. Old trees store more carbon than young trees, simply because they are larger.

4. Trees die and return stored carbon to the atmosphere.

5. Wood products store carbon for some period of time, and many displace concrete and steel products that in manufacturing require large quantities of fossil fuels.

6. Bioenergy is a renewable substitute for fossil fuels that also can help improve forest conditions and provide employment in rural communities.

In 2008, the Massachusetts Woody Biomass Energy report stated that “Burning fossil fuels releases ‘new’ carbon into the atmosphere that has been stored underground for millions of years. Burning biomass releases carbon that was recently absorbed from the atmosphere by a growing plant” (Urquart and Boyce 2008). In 2010, the Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study report conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (MCCS 2010a) for the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources tried to develop a new way of thinking about wood bioenergy and the carbon cycle by analyzing a single forest stand over a period of decades, which is considerably less than the life of a tree. The Manomet Center’s contribution is a biomass carbon “debt-then-dividend” model. Their approach overlooks items 2, 4 and 5 in Box 1, and builds a case against item number 6, using wood bioenergy to substitute for fossil fuels because of short-term effects. It's obvious that Manomet had some built in biases against forest biomass harvesting for some unknown reasons.

Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are policies that 36 states have adopted that require various changes in energy sources (DSIRE 2010). An RPS can increase pressure on utilities to consider biopower. Massachusetts is one such state, and its 2008 report on Woody Biomass Energy drew a distinction between fossil fuel emissions and biogenic emissions: “Burning fossil fuels releases ‘new’ carbon into the atmosphere that has been stored underground for millions of years. Burning biomass releases carbon that was recently absorbed from the atmosphere by a growing plant” (Urquart and Boyce 2008).

The Manomet Center study report misinterpreted what “carbon neutral” actually means with a statement that “. . . policies encouraging the development of forest biomass energy have generally adopted a view of biomass as a carbon neutral energy source because the carbon
emissions were considered part of a natural cycle in which growing forests over time would recapture the carbon emitted by wood-burning energy facilities” (MCCS 2010a, p. 6). To the contrary, the USDOE and EPA consider emissions from biomass to be zero because biomass combustion does not add new carbon to the atmosphere, not because after some period of time forests will recapture CO2.

Is MA State Government bipolar? First they come out with a report that supports biomass then they come out with a report that says it is supposedly worse than coal! Management of multiple-product forests can help maintain and improve the overall carbon balance.

How can forest management help reduce atmospheric CO2? The EPA and resource management agencies should be focused on developing a consistent and logical rationale. In some respects this question is more important than the “carbon neutral” question, because forests can help reduce the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere. Five forestry strategies can affect climate change. In order of their relative importance these are 1) reduce stand-replacing fires; 2) keep forestlands in forests; 3) afforestation and reforestation; 4) use wood products as substitutes for fossil fuel-intensive products; and 5) forest management and rotation length (Cloughesy 2006). Any effort to significantly reduce wildfires will generate large volumes of biomass and require the development of an additional workforce (USFS 2005).

A science synthesis report on forests and carbon by the Ecological Society of America identified eight strategies for managing forests to enhance their role in carbon management. Avoiding deforestation is at the top of the list. Biomass energy and use of wood products in place of concrete or steel are two viable strategies (Ryan et al. 2010). According to the scientists who wrote the forestry chapter in IPCC report on climate change mitigation strategies, “In the long term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”

Right just as Harvard Forest says, deforestation is the number one problem followed by destructive highgrading.

The “carbon debt-then-dividend” conceptual model used in the Manomet Center study report is problematic for four reasons:
1) the choice of today as the beginning time frame for carbon cycling instead of in the past when the existing forest began to uptake atmospheric CO2;

2) use of stand-level instead of the landscape-level modeling―“management actions should be examined for large areas and long time periods” (Ryan et al. 2010, p. 4);

3) failing to use a life-cycle approach that includes emissions from transporting energy feedstocks; and

4) failing to include the carbon sequestered in wood products that result from the timber harvest “business as usual” scenario, and the avoided fossil fuel emissions from substitution for concrete and steel products in the analysis.

The Manomet Center study report short changes policymakers by focusing primarily on analysis of GHG emissions, using a novel model designed to replace the long-established principle that biomass combustion results in a zero net emissions increase because it is part of
the continuously ongoing carbon cycle. In so doing the Manomet Center study report treats biomass as if it were mined like fossil fuels, until sometime in the future when the biomass has regrown and repaid its “carbon debt.” In reality, that “debt” is imaginary because biomass was produced by the carbon cycle and will be replaced by it unless deforestation occurs.

Furthermore, the use of wood products that replace concrete and steel immediately produces the benefit of a permanent reduction in GHG emissions much greater than the “biomass carbon debt.” In addition, by selecting a small area to analyze, the model ignores the fact that adjacent vegetation will immediately reabsorb the carbon emitted to the atmosphere from dead vegetation, whether death is the result of harvesting biomass to make wood products or energy, or from fire, insects and disease.

The idea that the combustion of coal is somehow better for the atmosphere than the combustion of wood for bioenergy as currently practiced in the U.S. does not make sense. The current debate is likely to conclude that burning wood to produce electricity is an improvement over burning coal, now, but only if the feedstock comes from sustainably managed forests. The reason is not so much that biomass combustion result in a zero net emissions increase― although this is a valid argument because the carbon cycle is a continuous process―but rather because the bioenergy industry consumes “waste wood” residues that otherwise have no use and will be returned to the atmosphere in a short period of time anyway. This approach is strongly supported in the literature cited herein, including the Manomet Center study report.

Logging residues are a substantial underutilized resource that enlightened forest and energy policy could convert from a liability to an asset. Improving the condition of forests in many areas of the nation would involve thinning overly dense forests and salvage of dead timber. These materials could be used as energy feedstocks. The policy question is not whether wood bioenergy emits more CO2 than coal, but whether it makes sense to enable and facilitate use of biomass produced by the carbon cycle to substitute for fossil fuels, or encumber such use and continue to mine fossil fuels while allowing forests to decay and burn.

The coal fired power plants in Massachusetts get their coal from West Virginia where mountain top removal mining has been totally devastating. In addition, coal gives off far more serious pollutants. So how can utilizing renewable biomass be worse than coal as Manomet suggested?!

So the question is why is the MA DOER basing their proposed new biomass regulations on a study that has been so thouroughly discredited?

All of the proposed biomass regulations - http://www.mass.gov/Eoeea/docs/doer/ren ... %20SoS.PDF need to be rejected and thrown out. Otherwise, we foresters will be unable to do the necessary forest improvement work on 2 million acres of private forest land that is so desperately needed here in Massachusetts.

Mike Leonard, Consulting Forester
North Quabbin Forestry - http://www.northquabbinforestry.com
35 Leighton Road
Petersham, MA 01366

.

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Debunked

Post by dbhguru » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:23 am

ENTS,

I'll reply to Mike's post with an email response from Glen Ayers copied from regular email traffic. Glen I apologize for borrowing your response, but you cut to the chase.

From Glen Ayers,
==================================================================================
Mike and Joe,

I haven't read the whole thing in detail, mostly because I couldn't stop laughing, but my summary is: What do you expect from a pig, but OINK?

This guy is a pretty rabid mouthpiece for the Idaho forestry mafia, plain and simple. Read some of his other gems, like http://www.cnrhome.uidaho.edu/default.aspx?pid=113087

It is all about "magical" biomass, the carbon-neutral wonder stuff. Of course O'Laughlin is going to write this sort of scientific tripe, he knows exactly which side of his bread is buttered and by who. Nothing is de-bunked by him, he is one of the biggest bunkers out there. In fact, if anything, Manomet went a long way to de-bunking Jay's constant stream of bunkola. He uses every argument in the book to come up with the same answer every time: Cut More Trees. His major work effort is to constantly keep repeating those BIG lies so that they will eventually be accepted as the truth. Its an old trick, used by the Nazis and Cheney & Bush, and others throughout history.

Another point to keep in mind is that there are some major differences between Idaho forests and New England forests. But overall, his basis for the "biogenic" model of carbon-neutrality has been thoroughly discredited for forests. Sorry, that's reality. There just ain't no free lunch in the forests, even though Jay wants very bad to justify his make-believe world of the carbon-neutral bio-genic CO2 fantasy. The energy that stays in the forest runs the whole show. The energy that is removed (the "bio-energy") results in an impoverishment of the life in the forests. Its not "free" energy to be harvested, its being stolen from the system. Basic physics and biology don't change, no matter how much you lie.

I must point out that a huge hole in Manomet, and O'Laughlin's thinking is that neither deals with the fact that we inherited about 50% of our existing atmospheric carbon debt from our predecessors who cut down our old growth forests and burnt out our soil carbon by increased agricultural tillage and the use of chemical fertilizers. As the saying goes: We don't inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we steal it from our children. Well, our ancestors stole it from us, stole our forests, stole our soil, stole our atmosphere; now it is payback time, and we are going to have to pay with compounded interest, my friends. Manomet did not address the sifting baselines of forest health, forest carbon, or biological impoverishment. Sorry to be so blunt, but Jay O'Laughlin can't see the forest for the trees he wants to cut down. He's simply a woodchuck with a PhD.

Glen Ayers
================================================================================================

ENTS,

Ed Frank, Will Blozan, Lee Frelich, and I welcome new members and the return of old ones, but we have no intention of allowing the BBS to be used as a bulletin board for the endless stream of timber industry propaganda paraded under the banner of science. I could care less if a study is authored by a PhD in some western school of forestry. All the more to hold it suspect. The Internet is endlessly deep. We all use it, but it allows anybody to flood cyberspace with junk and cite purportedly valid studies to support personal agendas.

We encourage BBS participation, but .....

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Mike Leonard
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Oct 07, 2010 7:42 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Debunked

Post by Mike Leonard » Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:15 pm

Bob,

That's curious. Last year you agreed with my prior position that we should build smaller 20 MW biomass plants rather than the 50 MW plants. My reasoning was that building 5 20 MW plants spread out rather than 2 50 MW plants would be more logical to reduce trucking distances. But the developer of the Greenfield biomass plant told me that it would cost just as much to build a 20 MW plant as it would a 50 MW plant. So since Greenfield and Russell are the only games in town, I adjusted my position and support them because without markets for low grade, good forestry is extremely difficult and usually impossible.
You also commented on some of the pictures of my biomass improvement cuttings and said "there's nothing with that"!

But I guess you've been swayed by what I refer to as the "Neo-Luddites".
The bottom line is that a growing market for biomass is the best thing that could ever happen in the forestry sector.

Mike

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Debunked

Post by dbhguru » Fri Oct 08, 2010 7:25 pm

Mike,

True, I agreed that a 20 Megawatt plant might be a reasonable interim solution under the assumption that no whole tree harvesting would be done. I haven't changed my position on that. I'm willing to see a little biomass worked into the equation. However, Mike, I think you understand one thing as well as I do. I seriously doubt that "a little biomass worked into the equation" is what the biomass advocates have in mind. I think they are ready to create a feeding frenzy on our forests if allowed to proceed unchecked, all the time lying through their teeth about their intentions. And the academic mavens of the forestry world would be right there giving full support to the ascendency of biomass until large scale clear-cutting became the norm. BTW, I am well acquainted with Joe Zorzin's views on biomass's impact on forestry. I know you and Joe don't want to lock horns in debates about biomass and its value to ordinary forestry. Arguing between the two of you would be contrary to your common interests. So, best we let this one drop.

Now changing the scale of things, if you can make a few more dollars and live a little higher on the hog with a very modest interim biomass solution, more power to you. I'm the last one do begrudge you that. But I'm not willing to back large scale biomass. It isn't green. It isn't carbon neutral. It isn't environmentally clean. Its wide scale use is a fraud being perpetrated by the same kind of ultra-rich, exploitative interests that gave us the Gulf oil spill.

Hey, I have an idea. This is ENTS. Let's talk about big trees, old growth, natural forest ecosystems, great places to visit, the tree climb on Oct 16th, the banquet and concert on the evening of the 16th. Fun stuff. Besides, I owe you and Sun a tour of Monroe State Forest. Are you still interested in seeing the place?

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

User avatar
gnmcmartin
Posts: 464
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2010 7:16 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Debunked

Post by gnmcmartin » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:14 am

Mike and Bob:

I think this is a debate worth having. Mike, I will express my concerns in a rather strong form below, but I would very much appreciate your view, however contrary it might be, to my experience and my concerns about wood biomass in the future. I am sure I have a lot to learn.

Those ENTS members who have read my posts about how I manage my 300 acres of timberland in the mountains of far western Md. already know my concerns about biomass harvesting in our forest lands. I will keep this relatively brief to avoid too much repetition.

I am afraid that everyone involved in biomass production for energy will be a winner, except for the landowner and the environment. Here is the basis for my concern and the basis for it in my experience as the owner, manager, and timber cutter of my own timberland. Here in MD we have a ready market for low value wood--that is as pulpwood at the Westvaco paper mill at Luke. My understanding is that pulpwood logs are a higher value product than biomass, so the problems I have seen with pulpwood harvesting could well be not as bad as they could be with biomass production.

Here is the basis of the problem for forestland owners who want to sell trees for pulpwood: The producers of pulpwood can stay in business and make a profit only if they run extremely “production oriented” operations. If they don’t get the wood out of the forest and to the mill very fast at a very low cost, they lose money. The price at the mill is set by the cost basis carried by the most efficient producers.

The drive for efficient production is what makes the sale of pulpwood a loser for the landowner. Trees have to be harvested very fast, and this means the use of very large feller/buncher machines and grapple skidders, and/or at the very least, “whole tree processing,” meaning that if traditional tree felling is done, the trees are skidded to the landing with only the unusable portions cut off. For the Luke mill here, that means in multiples of 20 foot lengths to 4 inch tops. Neither of these methods of pulpwood harvesting can be done without a completely unacceptable amount of damage to the butt logs of the remaining trees. With a cable skidder, these are mostly on the bottom three feet, but with feller/bunchers, and grapple skidders, the damage can be up to ten feet high or so.

Damage to the bottom three feet may not seem to be that important if the tree is subsequently harvested before any rot entering the trunk has a chance to progress upward. But not so. The premier product on my timberland is veneer cherry logs. The specifications for this are very, very high. The minimum length accepted is 8’5,” If the butt of a tree has damage up to 3 feet, suddenly I need a length of about 12 feet to have saleable veneer. If there is any kind of defect within the 8’5” I am able to cut above the damage at the base of the tree, a log that could have been worth $6 and up per board foot, is now worth $1 or less, depending on the type of defect. Well, I could get into more examples of the cost of this kind of damage, but I will let that go for now.

Biomass production will be even more strictly productivity driven than pulpwood production. There will be even less room for a landowner to negotiate price vs. harvesting care.

My experience with pulpwood was not good. Three times in the early years of my timberland ownership/management I considered pulpwood sale. The first two times I was selling hardwood thinnings. The crew came in, but as soon as it was clear that I wanted some special care taken not to damage the remaining trees, they left. I was reasonable--I accepted that some trees would be damaged. But in the end, the pulpwood cutters realized that if they took the measures I asked for, their profit margin would suffer too much.

The third time I offered pine pulpwood. In this case, the trees were in rows, but many of the rows switched every 300 to 600 feet from red pine to white pine, and I wanted to have only red pine cut. Because switching rows once in a while would take extra time, the cutter decided that he could get a better level of productivity elsewhere. I offered my trees for free in order to get the needed thinning done, but even with that concession, he felt his profit margin was not sufficient.

It was at that point I began to learn to cut my own timber, and I was very happy in the end that that deal fell through. I am now an expert tree feller/logger and enjoy the work.

What I see happening with biomass production is a race to the bottom in terms of woodland management. Higher and higher levels of productivity will be demanded, the price at the power plant will go lower and lower, and the drive for productivity will result in the building of huge tree/biomass harvesting machines. These will in some ways be analogous to corn silage harvesters. The machines will be gigantic--they will be all-in-one “combines.” They will cut the trees in a broad swath, as they are cut the trees will be chipped, and the chips loaded by a big blower into in a huge detachable car behind. As that car is filled, another will be brought up quickly to replace it, etc., etc. Trees will be harvested like corn silage. What will this do to the land with all the soil compaction/erosion, bird populations, etc., etc. will be terrible.

Yes, OK, you may think I am exaggerating. Well, I am not so sure. I remember when pulpwood was harvested as “short wood,” which meant lengths of five feet. Much of it was harvested by farmers with a tractor and a cart, and then taken to a landing where it was hand loaded onto pallets. In my neighborhood a Mr. White had a truck with rails and a winch to load up and haul the pallets to the mill. It was his full-time job. There was little or no damage to the woods. Well, more and more production “advances” were made and the short wood was priced out of the market. Luke for many years now has not accepted short wood. Now it is all in 20 foot lengths, and these are never bucked in the woods any more. The whole usable length is taken to a landing, and in the process, the remaining timber stand is simply thrashed and trashed. The landowner gets a few dollars and the future value of his trees is truly destroyed. In the old days if I had described to my neighbor farmer the feller/buncher machines that would replace what he was doing to produce pulpwood, he would have thought I was making up something crazy. Well, we will see how crazy my predictions about these wood biomass harvesting machines seem in a few years.

Yes, I have seen pictures of some demonstration plots, maybe in one of the SAF publications I subscribe to. Yes, they really look “pretty.” The most recent one I saw was of a white pine stand. Really nice. But one doesn’t see in the photos the soil compaction, and one may not think about what the loss of the wood residues might mean for the soil. But all that aside, we might for a few years see a good opportunity to use the value of biomass wood as a way of offsetting the cost of TSI thinning, etc. But just as this opportunity faded and ultimately disappeared with pulpwood sales in my region, any opportunities created by biomass wood markets to enhance forest management will quickly disappear, and the end result will be a serious degradation of the quality of our forests

Of course it would be good to use biomass for energy if wood residues that have no higher use can be used, and these can be extracted without damaging the remaining trees and/or essentially destroying the forest. Residues at the saw mill should be used for energy as long as there is not a better use for mulch. Likewise with landscaping debris, etc. etc. The best use for my “residues” has been to leave them on the forest floor for compost and soil improvement. As far as I can understand, this is the highest and best use for this wood. My soil is not compacted, and my trees remain undamaged, and on some of the best acres, the standing trees are worth in the range of $20,000 to $30,000. Taking a thousand dollars 25 years ago, and maybe another thousand or even a few thousand at another time or two, would have been the stupidest thing I could have done.

--Gaines

User avatar
edfrank
Posts: 4217
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:46 pm

Biomass

Post by edfrank » Sat Oct 09, 2010 1:13 pm

Gaines,

Yes the Biomass issue is one that warrents more discussion. There has been bad science, misrepresentation, and simple bad faith by various parties in the debate with respect to carbon sequestration, carbon neutrality and other issues. At the Forest Summit there will be several presentations that will address the idea of Biomass power plants, including Glen Ayers. These discussions are welcome on the ENTS BBS so long as the discussions are focused on the issues and science involved rather than degrading into personal attacks and insults. On a broader scale ENTS as a group really isn't about biomass arguments, but as biomass is a forest topic, it is appropriate to this forum. Mike Leonard will not be participating in these discussions.

Ed Frank
"I love science and it pains me to think that so many are terrified of the subject or feel that choosing science means you cannot also choose compassion, or the arts, or be awe by nature. Science is not meant to cure us of mystery, but to reinvent and revigorate it." by Robert M. Sapolsky

User avatar
James Parton
Posts: 1576
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Discussion

Post by James Parton » Sat Oct 09, 2010 9:16 pm

ENTS,

I have nothing against Mike making his views known here, I am trying to make sense of all this biomass stuff. The fact that trees are renewable and when burned as fuel release carbon that has only recently been absorbed from the atmosphere instead of "new " carbon that is liberated from burning coal sounds good, at least at first. But I would fear, like most of you that it would be abused and give people another reason to over decimate and abuse forests already worse than they have over the last couple hundred years. Logging practices are still being mismanaged to public lands today when they should be done with the long-term sustainability of the forests in mind. If logging is not managed correctly what makes one thing that harvesting trees for fuel for power generation will be any different.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Discussion

Post by dbhguru » Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:37 am

James,

I'm in agreement with you. None of us begrudge any BBS member his/her opinion on biomass or any other topic. But as we've seen, passions can run high on bread and butter topics, religion, politics, treatment of the Earth, etc. and from our past experiences on the Google list and its forerunners, discussions on the BBS have to be moderated. I fully accept this, because I'm no stranger to letting my emotions get inflamed. However, I take no offense at other Ents reminding me if I stray too far. We should all serve as a check and balance here on the BBS to insure that our opinions don't degenerate into personal attacks, especially on other members of this BBS. That is a strict no-no. Verboten.

Over the years there have been a few ENTS participants who simply wouldn't rain it in, and had to be excused from the list. Ed usually did the dirty work, but make no mistake, it was with my concurrence. I always feel a sense of loss when that happens, but it's life. I accept it. That said, if a person's primary reason for coming on this BBS looks suspiciously like a need to sound off and insult people of different opinion, we don't need that person. Pure and simple. I'm tolerant to a point, but there is a limit.

Although it is an important topic and relevant within bounds, discussing forest management, including its dubious biomass connection, really isn't why we originally created ENTS. Even so, in these turbulent times it is hard to deal with just trees alone. Since the early days of ENTS, we've experimented with topics that deal with how we treat the environment in general and our forests in particular. These topics concern us all, but are invariably controversial and charged with emotion. It's hard to exclude them because they generate intense interest that outstrips the attention given to gentle subjects like tree measuring, tree poetry, tree mythology, etc. But our primary mission remains to celebrate forests and trees in science, art, music, poetry, medicine, mythology, etc. You know the spiel.

I'll close by saying that I greatly appreciate the civility and respect with which you and the vast majority of Ents treat each other. James, you are a true gentleman. You walk the talk. You do a better job of it than I do. You make a darn good role model as does Gaines and a number of others I could mention. You all are the very heart and soul of ENTS.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

User avatar
James Parton
Posts: 1576
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Discussion

Post by James Parton » Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:58 am

Bob,

I agree. Anyone childish enough to begrudge and disrespect anyone else on the list should be banned. It is alright to disagree with someone else's views on a subject but it never should go to name calling, etc. Keep it civil!

Bob, thanks for the kind words but ENTS would be at a much greater loss without you than without me. I would sure miss you if you left ENTS.

James
James E Parton
Ovate Course Graduate - Druid Student
Bardic Mentor
New Order of Druids

http://www.druidcircle.org/nod/index.ph ... Itemid=145

User avatar
dbhguru
Posts: 4508
Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Manomet Biomass Study Discussion

Post by dbhguru » Mon Oct 11, 2010 9:51 am

James,

Not to worry. I have no reason to leave ENTS. The organization is better now than it has ever been thanks to our combined efforts and in no small measure to Ed Frank's tireless devotion to keeping us prominent and active in cyberspace. Some day I hope to write a short book on the history of ENTS. I've been thinking about what approach to take. I would be challenged to describe the driving forces behind ENTS in ways that wouldn't over-focus on what separates tree lovers from tree exploiters, i.e. I'd prefer to avoid dwelling on the negative. Our beginning were from a very admirable, positive base. We wanted to raise consciousness and bring people together who see trees as important in ways other than economic and stay focused on celebratory aspects. We wanted to emphasize the exquisite architecture of trees, explore them through the arts, and to focus on them through science and mathematics. We did agree to leave room for topics that deal more with forests on a larger scale and what is happening to them, but that was a subordinate purpose. However, at times, the latter subordinate objective became the dominant one and opened the door to contentious discussions about forest management, or more to the point, mismanagement. The latter is always an emotionally charged topic, and for us invariably led to mischief. The Topica and the Google lists almost sank a few times as a result. Of course, you know all this. But is seems we're sentenced periodically to recycle back to the past at least until the creation of the BBS.

The BBS, list moderation, and Ed's willingness to act as ENTS policeman has allowed us to regain our primary focus. But still on occasion, we'll get a gate crasher who comes storming in dropping f* bombs and spreading mayhem for purely personal reasons. None of the gate crashers share our values or show interest in trees in Ents defining ways. You'll recall the self-proclaimed 'tree biologist' and the self-appointed cyber forester from Texas who gave chase across air waves. Neither had the slightest interest in ENTS. So we have had come to except that those types must be sent packing for the health of the whole. They poison the atmosphere and seem to take pleasure in doing it. As for my part, I'm happy to turn them over to big Ed, who himself can be volatile, but Ed has chosen to set an example for the good of ENTS. Knowing Ed's own potential volatility (his tolerance for the stupidity has limits) has helped me to keep my own volatility in check. We're staying on the high road.

A real challenge for ENTS, solved now partly by the outreach of the Internet, continues to be the attraction of serious professional and amateur tree researchers who are willing to work toward the common objective of a universal big tree database built on accurately measured trees organized around forested sites. Hopefully Mitch Galehouse's work will be the answer. The database design he's been devoting himself to is looking pretty darn good, and once it's completed, the sky is the limit. I, alone, have enough data collected over the years to re-float the Titanic.

James, I wish you and Joy could attend the conference and rendezvous. I'd dearly love to share with you the wonders of Massachusetts big tree sites and take you to see your named tree in MTSF. Maybe next year. It is an annual event.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

Post Reply

Return to “Biomass”