Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

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dbhguru
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by dbhguru » Sat Mar 17, 2018 2:20 pm

Lucas,

And rightly it should. I continue to read with interest what is happening with biomass in Canada.

I've never doubted that the growing use of biomass to generate electricity would devolve into our worst nightmare.

It is painful for me to see once well-intentioned forestry professionals who I've known for years abandon all objectivity and embrace biomass as carbon neutral. It isn't! Not even close.

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

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Erik Danielsen
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by Erik Danielsen » Sat Mar 17, 2018 4:34 pm

There are huge quantities of energy available in the biomass contained in our municipal waste streams- over 1/3 by weight of the material we landfill on average. THAT is the biomass we should be looking to utilize first. By the time we cap landfills and start capturing methane, most of that energy potential has already vented to the atmosphere (the half life of the fermentable energy potential in food waste is about 50 days). This energy feedstock is produced as a byproduct and in most systems is still an expense to process rather than a resource.

Burning more fossil fuels to cut forests to burn is insane. Market manipulations and a system that has no real-world basis for valuing ecosystem services are the only reason anyone can find a profit in it.

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gjschmidt
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by gjschmidt » Sat Mar 17, 2018 6:25 pm

Wood is wasteful as solar energy battery, except in a functioning ecosystem where thousands of species take their cut and maintain system stability. Plus you end up burning up the battery. Ideally, one would cut out the middleman and capture solar energy more directly. But we should not do any this at the expense of displacing existing forest (or deserts for that matter), when millions of hectares of rooftops are doing nothing but radiating heat from the sun.
Greg Schmidt

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Don
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by Don » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:30 pm

Every time I've followed threads out to what seems to be an inevitable conclusion, it involves diminishing the poplulation. I used to advocate ZPG (I'll bet I need to explain ZPG - Zero Population Growth), but it seems we're too late for that, that solution's time has passed. Wars, pestilence, plague remain.
It seems we can't trust ourselves to rely on thinning forests in a fashion that is truly sustainable (let's say in the Core/Buffer/Corridor approach advocated in Conservation Biology), our aesthetics are such that we'll not stand for windmills capturing energy for us, can't rely on solar power because of the cost of technology, and concerns for underwater denizens hampers harnessing tidal energy.
I think it would be great to be advocating for solutions, lest we fall prey to the failure of environmentalism to do much more than stop actions...I sought for a decade or more to get behind restoration ecology (in my case ecological forest restoration, eventually the researching use of wildfire used for resource benefit WFURB), thinning by hand, thinning by mechanical means, thinning by WFURB and fire. Features of this research have been applied to Northern Arizona ponderosa pine forests with some measure of success, even now a decade later.
We gotta get better at doing,..
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

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dbhguru
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by dbhguru » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:07 am

Don,

I well remember your important role in ecological restoration in northern Arizona. Those were good and promising times, but alas, they are gone. I think we know where, but I won't go there.

From a broader perspective, the problem is, and always has been, the way we treat any natural resource that can provide short term financial returns to a sector of our society. Sadly, I expect that our forests will always be on the chopping block, so to speak, no matter how good of a job those of you with a broader perspective did, or are doing, to put meaning into concepts like sustainability, and be proactive.

Now, with the specter of wide scale biomass looming ominously, we are seeing how quickly once responsible resource managers, public and private, are willing to whore themselves. Sorry, if anyone has delicate ears, but there's no nice way to put it.

Don, you hit the nail on the head when you "zeroed" in on population growth. I too was part of the movement. Growth should be zero, but suggesting so isn't even a whisper on the lips of otherwise responsible leaders. Growth is destined to continue upward with eventual catastrophic consequences. One of our once prominent posters, James Robert Smith (where are you James?), once warned us that if we wanted to see our remaining great places, best we'd better do it soon. There won't be a later. I'm forced to agree with James, and sooner had really better be sooner.

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

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RayA
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by RayA » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:06 am

I don't hear much about geothermal energy, but it seems there may be great potential there. I believe Hawaii is investing heavily in that.

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Don
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by Don » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:03 pm

Ray/Bob-
The real success story in geothermal energy is Iceland. There's one offshore island in the far north that isn't heated/powered by geothermal, the rest of the country is. Aesthetically, I suspect that the insulated above ground piping would be an issue with sensitive US citizens, but the ever present hot water wouldn't.

But I don't know if it's forever sustainable...there must be a point where the heat begins to deplete, although it may not be in decades, but I suspect centuries.

A quick sidenote...we were traveling across the more remote NW quadrant of Iceland, and saw that there was a hotspring on our map...a single lonely symbol in the middle of an otherwise blank section of the map...probably at least an hour from any other sign of civilisation, we followed a sign directing us a mile off the roadway, to a lonely ranch house with outbuildings, but otherwise totally untrammeled wilderness. The outbuilding held within, one of the nicer hotspring facilities I've had the chance to access...and I'm a bit of a hotspring fanatic!
"Miles from nowhere, I'll take my stand, oh yeah...", apologies to Cat Stevens
"Miles from nowhere, I'll take my stand, oh yeah...", apologies to Cat Stevens
For the sum of about $5.00 US, we had this hotspring, and towels, all to our selves!
Here's the next  sign of inhabitation...
Here's the next sign of inhabitation...
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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RayA
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by RayA » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:42 pm

Don, re geothermal and unsightly exposed pipes...I was thinking more along the idea that maybe each home or commercial building would have its own geothermal heating system, with underground piping and heat pump. I don't know how feasible it would be everywhere, but my understanding is that the piping can be placed horizontally just below the frost line if you have a large enough area available (e.g., a commercial parking lot); elsewise, you'd sink the piping much deeper, vertically.

Either way, it seems like promising technology. I don't imagine we'd draw the earth's core temperature down anytime in the foreseeable future. Oh sure, maybe by the time Bob's enthusiasm for measuring trees wanes a bit, the glaciers might start advancing again. But in the meantime....

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Don
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by Don » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:35 pm

Ray-
I think your thinking is close...it's not like powerlines strung here and there and everywhere. But where there are long runs, and the pipes are big (say insulated 24" mains) and the underground is millenias of lava layers, it's not unusual to see them. in an urban setting? Generally underground, zoned, planning, etc. Even so, in Anchorage, about 15 years ago we had a cold snap that caused problems across the city...even though code called for 10 foot deep underground, pipes were still freezing then bursting...when it hovers around -20 to -30 degrees for weeks, bursting water mains can be a challenge to repair. Iceland is not that dissimilar weatherwise, although it's much more subject to marine influence...
-Don
PS:Note the narrative on the sign that refers to the History of 'usage'...
One of the larger, outdoor settings for public access to a hotspring...
One of the larger, outdoor settings for public access to a hotspring...
Don Bertolette - President/Moderator, WNTS BBS
Restoration Forester (Retired)
Science Center
Grand Canyon National Park

BJCP Apprentice Beer Judge

View my Alaska Big Tree List Webpage at:
http://www.akbigtreelist.org

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Rand
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Re: Beginning of the end for hardwood here?

Post by Rand » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:53 pm

Keep in mind there are only ~350,000 people in iceland (vs 325 million in the US)-which sits on top of the mid atlantic rift/mantle plume-which constantly supplies fresh heat to their geothermal installations. It's experience with geothermal energy is completely inapplicable to the world at large.

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