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Biomass Harvesting and Forest Site Productivity. Eric D. Vance National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) Biomass/Bioenergy Workshop February 24-25, Houston, TX. Biomass Harvesting. Emerging markets for bioenergy Removal of biomass previously left on site Shorter rotations

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Biomass harvesting and forest site productivity

Biomass Harvesting and Forest Site Productivity

Eric D. Vance

National Council for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI)

Biomass/Bioenergy Workshop

February 24-25, Houston, TX

Biomass harvesting
Biomass Harvesting

  • Emerging markets for bioenergy

  • Removal of biomass previously left on site

  • Shorter rotations

  • Concerns over site productivity, water, wildlife

Sustaining site productivity by manipulating site resources
Sustaining Site Productivity by Manipulating Site Resources

  • Water, nutrients, sunlight

  • Allocation of existing site resources

    • Competing vegetation, root growth

  • Increasing site resources

    • Artificially removing biomass and nutrients

    • Cannot always rely on natural replacement

Management intensity and site resources
Management Intensity and Site Resources







Intensive Utilization of Harvest Residues in Southern Pine PlantationsM.H. Eisenbies, E.D. Vance, W.M. Aust, J.R. SeilerBioenergy Research (2009) 2:90-98

  • 32 million Mg yr-1 residues available in the South

  • 50-85 Mg ha-1 on site after stem-only harvest

  • 45-60% increase in mid-rotation fertilization may be needed to replace nutrients if residues removed

South Carolina Wet/Dry PlantationsHarvest Study (Virginia Tech, MeadWestvaco, NCASI)Residue-Soil Disturbance Matrix

Fall river long term soil productivity project univ of washington weyerhaeuser usfs ncasi
Fall River Long-Term Soil Productivity Project of Stand BiomassUniv. of Washington, Weyerhaeuser, USFS, NCASI

  • Conventional bole-only removal

  • Total stem (bole-only to a 5cm top)

  • Total-tree removal

  • Total-tree + legacy-wood removal

  • All cable-yarded

Fall river study douglas fir age 5 tree volume index
Fall River Study of Stand BiomassDouglas-fir Age 5 Tree Volume Index

Forest Service Long-Term Soil of Stand Biomass

Productivity Network

Core Sites

Affiliated Sites

Competing vegetation a critical factor
Competing Vegetation: of Stand BiomassA Critical Factor

Lake states aspen nutrient depletion and rotation length
Lake States Aspen of Stand BiomassNutrient Depletion and Rotation Length

  • Deficiencies rare

  • Older studies

    • Multiple, short-rotation cycles

    • Concluded 10-15 yr rotations sustainable

  • Reduced soil/foliar Ca on some sites

  • Indices underdeveloped

Aspen in the Lake States of Stand BiomassNutrient Budgets for Whole-tree Harvesting over 50 years(Mineral soils (lb/ac); Minnesota GEIS, Grigal 2004))

Ca capital = 15,125

Short rotation aspen on sandy soils a worst case scenario
Short Rotation Aspen on Sandy Soils: A Worst-Case Scenario? of Stand Biomass

  • < 1% Ca drain

    • (Grigal, 2004)

  • Three 20-yr rotations

    • < 5% Ca removed

  • 1 ton/ac wood ash

The forest calcium cycle likens et al 1998
The Forest Calcium Cycle of Stand Biomass(Likens et al. 1998)

Over a century of forest nutrition management in scandinavia
Over a Century of Forest Nutrition Management in Scandinavia of Stand Biomass

  • Science-based

  • Forest productivity

  • Forest health

  • Nutrient imbalances

    • Foliar, soil analysis

  • Biomass harvesting

Intensive harvest and site productivity what do we know
Intensive Harvest and Site Productivity: What Do We Know? of Stand Biomass

  • Many sites remarkably resilient

  • Little evidence for productivity declines

  • Preconceived notions often incorrect

  • Managers often know best

But more work is needed
But, More Work is Needed! of Stand Biomass

  • Sensitive sites

  • Fundamental impacts

  • Long-term, repeated removals

  • Indicators

  • Prevention, mitigation