A National Scan of Regulations and Practices Relevant to Biomass Harvesting

 / ©: Greg STOTT / WWF-Canada
Trees in old-growth forest in the Temagami area, Ontario, Canada.
© Greg STOTT / WWF-Canada
There is growing interest in the use of forest-based bioenergy to offset or replace fossil fuels. While bioenergy (liquid fuels, solid fuels and synthetic gas products) can be produced from low quality and unmerchantable wood, there are concerns that the demand for biofuel production could result in significant pressure to leave little downed woody debris (limbs, tops, branches, unmerchantable trees, etc) on the harvest site. This could have significant impacts on the long-term productivity of certain sites as well as on biodiversity.

In order to inform the growing debate surrounding this issue, WWF and FPAC have jointly commissioned a national scan of existing regulations, voluntary guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures. Issues covered in this scan include:
  1. harvesting methods, including technology and system used (e.g. cut-to-length, whole-tree);
  2. post-harvest site retention of living and dead trees, clumps, patches, buffers and corridors;
  3. slash minimization and on-site redistribution;
  4. procedures to minimize site disturbance (e.g. seasonal considerations, site preparation for post-harvest planting or regeneration);
  5. harvest site selection to avoid harvesting on poor or sensitive soils; and
  6. other measures to adjust prescriptions due to site sensitivity.
Links to the final report are included below.

Full Report
Consolidated table of fine-level assessments

Both of these documents include a general summary of findings, along with a link to the appendix where more detail s provided. As well, from the detailed appendix there are external links to the actual source documents.

We gratefully acknowledge the support from the Ivey Foundation and FPAC in carrying out this project.