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Forest Biomass Utilization for Energy Production

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The public perception of forest biomass utilization for energy production faces significant concerns in regard to the sustainability of local forests. Community participation and input is critical in addressing citizen’s concerns and priorities when developing a local energy plan. Greater opportunities for public engagement in the energy planning and policy making processes allow for more innovative and publicly supported uses of forest woody biomass. Since wood bioenergy is typically grown in proximity to where it is used, community members may be more aware of their energy source and thus, more cognizant of how they use it. With more communities working toward self-sufficiency through diverse economies, locally grown food, and thriving infrastructure, locally produced energy can provide yet another way for communities to be self-reliant (NACD, 2012). Competition for wood within a region is an important factor when considering a wood-using facility. This is particularly an issue for existing small-diameter wood-using industries such as pulp and paper companies. From an economic perspective, however, an increase in competition should drive the price of wood higher, which could encourage more forest landowners to plant trees for future feedstock needs. And while woody biomass is a new and potentially revolutionary forestry product, there are many additional uses and benefits of forests, including recreation, timber, paper production, and wildlife habitat. Communities must
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