Timber as Biofuel Not So Kosher

Posted by on Oct 4, 2013 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

As researchers look for ways to access cleaner forms of energy, many have turned to forests, experimenting with timber harvesting to produce biofuel. Initially, this form of acquiring fuel was thought to have less of a negative impact than fossil fuels, leaving a less pronounced carbon footprint. However, a recent study from Dartmouth College shows that analyses for carbon emissions hadn’t previously measured or accounted carbon emitted from deep-soil.

Researchers noticed a trend in the amount of papers being written about a sudden decrease in soil carbon levels. From this trend and other tests, they safely concluded that carbon from deep soil deposits, often under trees, are released into the atmosphere when a tree is cut down. The response of the minerals in carbon soil can often vary depending on harvesting techniques, soil type, and disturbance to the surface.

Since emissions of carbon into the atmosphere results from logging, scientists suspect that timber isn’t as effective in reducing the negative carbon impacts of burning fossil fuels. This realization prompted researchers to urge policymakers to reevaluate the push toward using trees as for biofuel. As it stands currently, forest biomass accounts for 3/4 of the world’s biofuel production.

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