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Bioenergy & Wood Products Conference. January 21, 2004 Denver, Colorado Presented by: William H. Carlson,Vice President Wheelabrator Technologies Anderson, California. Getting the most from your Thinning Dollar. A Checklist for Federal Land Managers. Before. After. Forest Health Math 101.

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bioenergy wood products conference

Bioenergy & Wood ProductsConference

January 21, 2004Denver, Colorado

Presented by:William H. Carlson,Vice PresidentWheelabrator TechnologiesAnderson, California

getting the most from your thinning dollar
Getting the most from your Thinning Dollar

A Checklist for

Federal Land Managers

slide3

Before

After

forest health math 101
Forest Health Math 101

Problem 1

You have 190 million acres of overstocked public land at risk of loss to catastrophic wildfire, containing 80 tons/acre of excess wood. You have 20 years to thin 50% of this land, assuming the rest must be left due to reserves, steep slopes, prescribed fire treatment, etc.

questions
Questions
  • How much wood must you remove per year?
  • What will you do with it?
  • What will it cost?
  • How do I go about it?
answer to question 1 how much wood must you remove per year
Answer to Question 1: How much wood must you remove per year?

380 million tons per year*

*equivalent to half the annual

output of the U.S. coal industry

answer to question 2 what will you do with it
Answer to Question 2: What will you do with it?
  • Transportation fuelsAND/OR
  • Commodity forest productsAND/OR
  • Steam and electric power generation
answer to question 3 what will it cost
Answer to Question 3: What will it cost?

$0-4.75 Billion per year*

* 4.75 billion figure is $1000/acre

thinning without wood utilizaton
Thinning Without Wood Utilizaton

$800-1,000 per acre

plus poor results

moving the annual thinning cost closer to 0
Moving the Annual Thinning Cost Closer to $0

Basis for example:

  • Nearly 1.5 million acres thinned over 20 years in N. Calif.
  • Both public and private lands
  • Exceptional results from forest health perspective
  • Excellent results from public perception perspective
  • Low or no cost to landowner
slide13
Disclaimer:

The assumptions used are based on the economic conditions that existed in northern California in 2003, and must be customized to fit other regions, forest types, and economic conditions.

Stand Characteristics:

Lands that have been thinned mechanically are generally 0-30% slope. As a result of improved harvesting technology the slope can now be pushed to 50%. Most stands are the result of many decades of selection harvest resulting in thickets that may carry thousands of trees per acre, separated by openings and skid roads that have been reused over the years. The stands have been well protected from wildfire for most of the twentieth century and therefore consist of trees from every diameter class, but are very heavy to the smallest classes. These stands can be described as advanced second growth with a classic fuel ladder problem.

Most thinning operations in stands fitting this description concentrate on removing the suppressed and intermediate (unmerchantable) trees while leaving the dominant and co-dominant trees, but without exception also yield some amount of merchantable log volume. Merchantable trees are removed to achieve spacing goals or to void a stand of defective, diseased, or dying trees.

why does this example work
Why Does this Example Work?
  • Three principles of thinning:
    • Infrastructure, Infrastructure, Infrastructure
  • Needs both forest products and biomass plants
  • The more wood utilized for forest products, the better the thinning economics
    • For instance, if good pulp chip market, the example would yield a positive return
    • There is no conflict between forest products and biomass energy.
answer to question 4 how do i go about it
Answer to Question 4How do I go about it?

Utilize the 10 step checklist that follows!

slide16
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum cost instead of minimum acres for maximum cost
  • Decide what you want land to look like:
        • Spacing
        • Age mix
        • Species mix
        • Wildlife provisions

Perhaps prepare a several acre sample plot

slide17
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum cost instead of minimum acres for maximum cost
  • Initially, to establish credibility and limit cost, thin close to existing infrastructure
        • Northern California
        • Southern Oregon
        • Michigan
        • Maine
slide18
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum cost instead of minimum acres for maximum cost
  • Use stewardship contracting authority in order to establish proper relationship with contractors and allow agency to focus on final results on the land.

These are not timber sales!

slide19
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum cost instead of minimum acres for maximum cost
  • To create new infrastructure, make the stewardship offering as large as possible.
        • 100,000+ acres
  • To create new infrastructure, make the stewardship offering as long as possible
        • 10 year minimum
        • 20 years preferable
slide20
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum cost instead of minimum acres for maximum cost
  • Don’t forget that there was once an infrastructure throughout the federal lands that might be brought back with proper offerings.
slide22
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum cost instead of minimum acres for maximum cost
  • Do not place artificial constraints on offerings that will raise the cost per acre
        • Arbitrary size limits
        • Ability to unilaterally change prescription
        • Seasonal restrictions

Remember, the goal is to save these lands from loss to catastrophic wildfire.

slide23
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum cost instead of minimum acres for maximum cost
  • In offerings, use thinning along existing road network to block lands into defensible perimeters as quickly as possible
        • The Quincy Library Group Model
  • Insure that your agency has done all it can to create the best economic climate for bidders that will result in lowest cost per acre for service
        • Help with federal energy bill passage
        • Help with state energy incentives
slide24
A Checklist for Federal Land ManagersTreating maximum acres for minimum costs instead of minimum acres for maximum costs
  • Never, for a minute, forget the ultimate goal:
    • Return the federal lands to a sustainable condition as quickly as possible at a reasonable cost
    • Treat it like a crisis, because it is!
conclusion
Conclusion

You now have nearly all the authorities you need to begin large scale restoration work. If you carefully, but quickly, proceed, you can accomplish the task well within the authorized amount from Congress in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003