August 2009


Aitkin County land commissioner Mark Jacobs addressed foresters, researchers and others at the Cloquet Forestry Center in February during the 2009 Forest Values and Carbon Markets conference. Photo by Philip Potyondy

Aitkin County land commissioner Mark Jacobs addressed foresters, researchers and others at the Cloquet Forestry Center in February during the 2009 Forest Values and Carbon Markets conference. Photo by Philip Potyondy

In its August issue, BusinessNorth gives top front-page billing to a lengthy article,  Feeding the air: Northern woods poised to benefit from carbon credit market, exploring the role that forests can play in mitigating global climate change, including through participation in voluntary carbon off-set markets. 

The impetus and frame for the article was the February  conference, Forest Values and Carbon Markets  Based on research commissioned by the Foundation on behalf of Minnesota land managers and shared at the conference, Aitkin County is now poised to add carbon sequestration to the list of public benefits for which the county will manage its land, a move which could add a significant and sustainable new source of revenue for the county, along with the environmental benefits to Minnesota and beyond. 

Other counties and private land owner associations are contacting Aitkin County Land Department to learn more as they consider the opportunity.

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Thanks to Dennis Becker for sharing news of this report, which includes a case study from Northeast Minnesota. 

Woody BiomassA collaboration of researchers from the University of Minnesota, Michigan Technological University, University of Oregon, and the Northern Research Station of the USDA Forest Service have released a new report entitled “Conventional Wisdoms of Woody Biomass Utilization.” Using 10 case studies from across the nation, this report considers whether commonly-held beliefs about the barriers and opportunities for woody biomass utilization appear to hold sway. It evaluates conventional wisdoms regarding consistency of supply, stewardship contracting, scale of operations, the role of collaboration, agency constraints, and several others.

 This paper sheds new light on the myriad issues surrounding woody biomass utilization and serves as both a primer for those unfamiliar with the topic, as well as a source of new research for those well versed in the issues.

 The report is available at:

http://www.forestguild.org/biomass/resources/ISE_Biomass.pdf

http://www.forestry.umn.edu/ENRPolicyCenter/research.html

 For more information, contact Dennis Becker at the University of Minnesota, 612-624-7286 or drbecker@umn.edu

 Additionally, the Ecosystem Workforce Program at the University of Oregon has released its own latest working paper about the social
issues surrounding biomass utilization. Although the technical and economic issues of woody biomass utilization have been frequent topics of research, social concerns have received far less treatment. This new working paper delves into the current social science research in the area and suggests lessons for policy makers and managers, and identifies topics that merit further study. The working paper is available at http://ewp.uoregon.edu/publications/working/.

For more information, contact Cassandra Moseley at the University of Oregon, (541) 346-4545 or cmoseley@uoregon.edu

One of the key learnings from last year’s forest productivity tour series is that “intermediate treatments can be an effective tool for increasing forest productivity…as long as we don’t go overboard.”  Last week, the Aitkin County Land Department hosted a tour that focused on their experiences of applying intermediate treatments in a variety of forest types.  Katie Fernholz of Dovetail Partners, Inc. produced a 10-minute video summary of the tour that you can watch by clicking here.  A written summary and photos can be found below.

Many thanks to Aitkin County Land Department and the Forest Guild for co-sponsoring this event with the Blandin Foundation!

Written Summary of the Tour