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Forestry Commission Releases Biomass Harvesting Guidelines
5/7/2013 12:35:02 PM


Columbia, SC --- Foresters with the South Carolina Forestry Commission have developed guidelines which address the emerging practice of harvesting woody biomass for energy.


Biomass generates energy.  Forest products manufacturers have known this for generations and have produced their own electricity on-site using bark, sawdust, and other waste wood.  "Woody biomass is a renewable resource that has the potential to supply 12-13% of the electricity used in South Carolina," said Dr. Tim Adams, the Commission's Resource Development director.


The new biomass harvesting BMPs are aimed at protecting water quality, plant and animal diversity, soil nutrition/quality, and site productivity in and around harvesting operations.  These are places where logging residue and other woody materials accumulate.


The recommendations build upon our existing and successful Best Management Practices (BMPs) used by landowners and timber harvesters to minimize environmental impacts and stay within compliance of regulations.


As was recently announced, SCFC sees a 93% compliance rate with its guidelines for harvesting timber. Logging, road building, site preparation, and even tree planting are intensive operations and reputable operators in SC can be trusted to work in such a way as to protect the land and water.  On the national scale, South Carolina is a success story in this area.


Wood demand is expected to increase dramatically in coming decades.  The global population and even wood use per person both are on the rise as emerging markets and improving standards of living worldwide become the norm.  As the "wood basket" of the world, the southeastern US is well positioned to play a major role.


We have more standing wood today than we did 100 years ago.  The vast majority of SC's timberland is privately owned and the changes ahead bode well for our state, its people, its economy and its environment.  Sustainable forestry is our insurance policy for the future.


As woody biomass utilization gains momentum (initially for European markets as an energy source), we prepare by adapting Best Management Practices to biomass harvesting.  As this new market develops, the SC Forestry Commission is committed to helping harvesters and landowners prepare for the future.


More information and the guidelines themselves are available online.  Visit to view the BMPs, or call the Forestry Commission for more information.

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