Jonathan Kusel, Executive Director of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment, authored an excellent piece in the Sacramento Bee that focuses on the impact of wildfires on California’s water and power supplies, local communities, and air quality. The piece underscores the need to put forest waste to beneficial use.
As Jonathan writes, “Legislators, state and federal agencies must prioritize investments in long-term landscape resilience and the capacity of local communities and the workforce. Investment must also be made in long-term restorative practices, carbon-smart wood utilization, workers and rural communities. Meaningful restoration requires supporting new community-scale businesses and the capacity to utilize small-diameter trees that cost more to cut and haul than they’re worth. As California invests billions in landscape restoration, a primary challenge will be developing businesses that can utilize small diameter trees and forest waste that are the byproducts of desperately needed restoration. Without investment in new community-scale businesses, forest restoration will not succeed. Burning piles in the woods is not the answer. Converting biomass to hydrogen is just one example of new technology that can simultaneously utilize forest biomass and help California reach carbon neutrality.”