Tag Archives: forests

U.S. South’s Largest Wood Pellet Exporter has Vital Forests in its Crosshairs

1 Sep

by Debbie Hammel / Switchboard

Map 1When you think about burning wood to heat your home, you might imagine a cozy fireplace, not a giant power plant. Unfortunately, utility companies in Europe are making massive investments to convert their power plants to burn wood—known as “biomass”—as a replacement for coal and other fossil fuels. This is despite the fact that recent research shows that burning whole trees in power plants actually increases carbon emissions relative to fossil fuels for many decades—anywhere from 35 to 100 years or more. It also emits higher levels of multiple air pollutants.

The result of this new demand has been the explosive growth of wood pellet exports from North America, most of which originate in our Southern forests here in the United States, putting into peril some of the most valuable ecosystems in the world.

At the leading edge of this new industry is Enviva, the South’s largest exporter of wood pellets. Enviva harvests trees from Southern forests, chips them in pellet mills and loads the pellets onto ships bound for Europe, where they are burned in utility-scale power plants to keep the lights on in Europe. Not exactly a cozy picture.

New maps and a report published today by NRDC and Dogwood Alliance show what’s at stake for  the forests surrounding Enviva’s Ahoskie facility—and the multitude of species that depend on them for their habitat. Using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) data layers to show the landscapes and species within the 75-mile radius from which the Ahoskie mill buys trees for wood pellet manufacturing, the results reveal how Enviva has some of the most biologically diverse and environmentally sensitive natural forests in the world in its crosshairs.

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May the New Year be Wilder

31 Dec

…with more wolves, bears, birds, forests. More crumbling industrial economies and displaced corporations. More connection to the landbase. More attacks on the destroyers of the Earth. More burning banks and bulldozers. More freedom of movement across nationalist boundaries. More wild spirit.

Speaking of wild, check out this New Year’s performance by eco-anarchists from a Lake Worth dance troupe…“Isn’t this awesome?!”