Climate Change & Biomass

Background 

Climate change is an issue potentially affecting multiple facets of the forest products industry. Because of perceived human-induced alterations in climate, there is pressure on industry to reduce energy intensity, sequester carbon, and account for carbon stocks and changes in those stocks. Because of the potentially significant costs of these measures to the industry, NCASI continues to review the scientific basis for assigning observed climate change to various causal mechanisms. Regardless of the mechanism, climate change could affect forest growth, both positively and negatively, and also natural ecosystems. In addition, rising CO2 and other global change agents (e.g., ozone, UV-B) can affect plant growth and wildlife populations.

Goal 

Provide technical information to support industry responses to climate change issues. 

Examples of Recent or Ongoing Tasks 

  • Technical Support on Global Change Issues – NCASI staff are providing technical support to member companies and AF&PA as needed and monitoring scientific and technical literature relevant to forest/climate issues with emphasis on the following topics: (a) definition, measurement, and trading of carbon credits/debits associated with forestry activities; (b) current and potential roles of forests in the global carbon cycle; and (c) effects of rising CO2 concentrations and climate change variables on forest productivity, forest health and carbon sequestration.
  • Forest Carbon Consortium – NCASI staff are serving on the Northern Institute of Applied Carbon Science (NIACS) Coordinating Committee and as chairman of the Forest Carbon Research Team of the Southern Forest Research Partnership (SFRP). NCASI will seek to promote alignment between NIACS and SFRP activities and industry and Agenda 2020 priorities related to carbon sequestration, advanced biomass energy technologies, new forest-based materials, and the forest biorefinery concept.
  • Technical Support for Carbon Estimation and Accounting – NCASI staff are developing and enhancing several tools to help member companies with carbon estimation and accounting, including 1) the NCASI Habitat and Harvest Planning Model (Habplan) for use in 1605(b) reporting and for projecting potential biomass into the future and 2) the Carbon On Line Estimator (COLE) which enables users to examine forest carbon characteristics of any area of the continental United States.

More details about these and other tasks can be found elsewhere on the NCASI website. For more information about the NCASI Sustainable Forestry and Eastern Wildlife Program, contact Dr. Ben Wigley at bwigley@ncasi.org.