See more from this Session: Symposium--Bioenergy and Soil Sustainability: Forest, Range and Wildlands: I
Tuesday, October 18, 2011: 8:00 AM
Henry Gonzalez Convention Center, Room 217D, Concourse Level
In recent times, bioenergy (known a few decades ago as fuels from biomass) has once again become popular as an alternative to fossil fuel consumption. It is important, however, that the enthusiasm for biofuels does not completely overshadow the issues of sustainability that were raised decades ago. Even earlier than the biofuels/fuels from biomass era, much concern was voiced and much research dedicated to soil nutrient sustainability issues related to intensive harvesting practices, including whole-tree harvesting and shortened rotations. Various offsite environmental concerns were raised such as water quality and erosion, but the major focus was primarily on potentially excessive nutrient removal in nutrient-rich biomass components. Also in recent times the use of prescribed fire has re-emerged as a popular management tool for mitigating wildfire danger in fire-prone forest ecosystems, and the nutrient balance considerations of this practice deserve greater scrutiny than they are currently getting. In this paper, some of the early studies on nutrient sustainability with intensive harvesting practices, are reviewed, going back at least to the 1950’s, in order to determine whether we have collectively learned enough about these issues to make any generalizations.