BIOMASS AND BIO-FUELS
The NCFA believes that the state’s forests can and should play a significant role in supplying woody biomass for energy solutions. We recognize that healthy productive forests depend on having strong markets for wood and wood products. By providing expanded market opportunities, biomass energy can provide an additional incentive to private landowners to keep their land in forest and to expand the management of the resource. In order to insure the long-term sustainability of the forest resource, it is essential that the state of North Carolina and the Nation embrace policies that support the economic and environmental benefits coming from healthy and productive forests. Evolving energy policies and management of the nation’s forests should support and not undermine such policies. We support energy initiatives that improve the environment, minimize economic distortions and maximize the vitality of our forests and the communities and industries that depend on them. We believe that market forces should be the primary stimulant for the use of wood and wood waste as a renewable fuel source and for determining fuel choices for energy generation. To the degree that government policies stimulate increased use of wood fiber for fuel, the government should increase the supply and availability of wood fiber from state and federal lands to help meet the added demands for wood. Further, existing companies that produce energy from woody biomass should not be disadvantaged by government incentives available to new businesses. And further, existing companies that already produce energy from woody biomass and seek to expand their biomass energy capacity should be equally eligible for government incentives as new businesses.
On October 9, 2009 the NCFA Board of Directors approved the following recommendations for its Biomass Harvesting Task Force related to the definition of “biomass” and the need for additional actions related to harvest. Definition of Biomass: NCFA supports the definition of renewable biomass as contained in the 2008 Farm Bill. Biomass Harvesting: The Board does not believe that additional harvesting guidelines restrictions, mandates or BMP’s for biomass are warranted or necessary at this time. Note: This could change over time depending on research findings or field operations that point to a need for additional actions.
The North Carolina Forestry Association strongly supports an end to unfairly subsidized lumber imports from Canada that are having a devastating impact on United States landowners and lumber producers. Until Canada ends these subsidies through open and competitive timber sales, we urge the United States government to take any necessary actions, including the extension of the softwood lumber agreement and/or the imposition of countervailing duties, to protect American landowners and lumber producers.
The NCFA supports the use of the harvesting method commonly known as clearcutting as one of several ways of harvesting timber. Like most practices, positive and negative impacts exist. Research has shown that clearcutting is a very effective and efficient way of harvesting timber and preparing a site for regeneration. Almost all of the commercial species of timber in the state require full sunlight for optimum growth. The complete removal of a stand allows full sunlight to reach the forest floor and stimulate new growth. Properly done, this method of harvest does not cause significant soil erosion or sedimentation. A timber harvest, particularly a clearcut, is seldom pretty and may cause "visual pollution" for some people. Alternative methods of harvesting should be examined and, if economical and appropriate, used in those areas with high scenic values.
Endangered Species - Reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act
The Endangered Species Act has provided a mechanism for protecting and rebuilding the populations of certain threatened and endangered species. However implementation of the current law does not provide for adequate consideration of human impact of the economic costs associated with compliance with the act. The NCFA supports reauthorization of the Endangered Species Act provided that it contains adequate provisions for balancing human and economic impacts with the benefits and requirements of protecting a particular species.
Expansion of Wood Processing Facilities in North Carolina
The North Carolina forest products industry, as represented through the NCFA, is united in its belief that new wood processing facilities will provide additional market opportunities and forest management options for private landowners. Markets for wood, particularly for previously unmerchantable material, provide essential financial returns and incentives to private landowners to improve and enhance their forest management programs. The forest industry is also united in its belief that improved markets, coupled with research, accurate forest inventory data and comprehensive landowner education programs, are essential to assure the long-term health and productivity of the state’s forest resources. With regard to landowner education, the industry is committed to assuring that forest landowners are aware of their forest management options, have access to professional assistance and make informed decisions regarding the management of their forests.
Increased Funding for the Forest Development Program
The NCFA supports increased state appropriations to the Forest Development Program. The state should match the forest products industry’s contribution dollar for dollar based on the previous year’s tax collection. Further, we support expanding allowable cost-share practices to include necessary hardwood management practices.
National Forests - Role of the National Forests in North Carolina
The NCFA believes the national forests must serve a multitude of purposes to satisfy the needs of the public. Years of research have demonstrated that forests can be productively managed for recreation, wildlife, water resources and timber. Providing a continuous and stable supply of timber to help meet demands for wood and wood products is an important function of these lands. The forest industry in western North Carolina is dependent on the national forests for a substantial amount of its raw material demands. Without a reliable supply of wood from these lands, there is a risk of overcutting private timberlands and the eventual demise of the industry in this part of the state.
Notification of Timber Harvest
The NCFA generally opposes any notification of timber harvest scheme, at least until reliable data or other substantive information is provided that clearly shows that (1) there is a real problem that needs to be addressed, (2) notification of timber harvest is the most efficient and equitable way to fix the problem and (3) such a program can be effectively implemented, i.e. the enforcement agency has adequate resources to carry out the program.
Pesticide Use in Forest Management
The NCFA supports the safe use and application of pesticides in forest management. When applied under EPA-approved label instructions, pesticides used in forestry are environmentally safe. While pesticides represent an important tool in forest management, they should not be used indiscriminately or on every site. Care must be taken to protect water quality and wildlife resources from inadvertent exposure to pesticides.When using pesticides, applicators should comply fully with all state and federal regulations.