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WOODSHED ANALYSIS Mad River Valley Towns Analysis by Marc Lapin, Chris Rodgers, & David Brynn Winter/Spring 2009.

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Presentation on theme: "WOODSHED ANALYSIS Mad River Valley Towns Analysis by Marc Lapin, Chris Rodgers, & David Brynn Winter/Spring 2009."— Presentation transcript:

1 WOODSHED ANALYSIS Mad River Valley Towns Analysis by Marc Lapin, Chris Rodgers, & David Brynn Winter/Spring 2009

2 Purpose To model the forest landbase suitable for sustainable harvest of forest biomass, and to estimate low-quality wood production on that landbase

3 General Methods Determine forestland sustainability criterion that can be utilized for spatial modeling Determine forestland sustainability criterion that can be utilized for spatial modeling Construct spatial model to evaluate the landscape Construct spatial model to evaluate the landscape Calculate the low-quality wood growth on the suitable forest landbase by applying several forest growth estimates to the suitable acreage Calculate the low-quality wood growth on the suitable forest landbase by applying several forest growth estimates to the suitable acreage

4 Sustainability Criteria Applicable to Spatial Modeling Ecological criteria for sustainability refer to forest health, productive capacity, soil and water, biodiversity, and carbon and nutrient budgets

5 Soils Soils Forestland Value Group Forestland Value Group Exclude two least productive groups, representing limited & very limited forestry potential (available from NRCS soils surveys) Slope Slope Exclude slopes >60% Separate slopes 30-60%, which may present sustainability/operability constraints

6 Water Quality and Wetlands Water Quality and Wetlands Exclude water bodies and wetlands Exclude water bodies and wetlands Exclude 75’ buffered area surrounding all water and wetlands Exclude 75’ buffered area surrounding all water and wetlands Fragile and ‘Significant’ Natural Communities Fragile and ‘Significant’ Natural Communities Exclude all lands above 2,500’ elevation Exclude all lands above 2,500’ elevation No reliable spatial data for significant natural communities, therefore exclude 10% of landbase to account for such features as well as for the forest access road network No reliable spatial data for significant natural communities, therefore exclude 10% of landbase to account for such features as well as for the forest access road network

7 Conserved Lands Conserved Lands Exclude all lands where timber extraction is legally prohibited Exclude all lands where timber extraction is legally prohibited Separate publically owned lands from privately owned lands for information purposes Separate publically owned lands from privately owned lands for information purposes Conserved lands GIS layer, GAP Protection Level data utilized Conserved lands GIS layer, GAP Protection Level data utilized

8 Suitable Forestlands Results 81% forested 81% forested 75% of forestlands suitable = 55,860 acres 75% of forestlands suitable = 55,860 acres 91% of suitable landbase privately owned 91% of suitable landbase privately owned 5% forested landbase legally protected from extraction 5% forested landbase legally protected from extraction 10% subtraction leaves 50,270 acres available 10% subtraction leaves 50,270 acres available

9 Excluded Lands by Criterion Percentages include ‘overlap’ among criteria Water, wetlands & their buffers – 10% Water, wetlands & their buffers – 10% Forestland value group – 14% Forestland value group – 14% Elevation – 6% Elevation – 6% Slopes >60% – 0.4% Slopes >60% – 0.4% Potentially unsuitable slopes – 15% Potentially unsuitable slopes – 15%

10 MORETOWN Large acreage (most of the town) of suitable private forest landbase Large acreage (most of the town) of suitable private forest landbase Moderate amount of 30-60% slopes Moderate amount of 30-60% slopes Very small area with conservation easements Very small area with conservation easements

11 FAYSTON Large acreage of suitable private forest landbase Large acreage of suitable private forest landbase Substantial areas with % slopes Substantial areas with % slopes Small percentage with conservation easements Small percentage with conservation easements Small amount suitable public lands Small amount suitable public lands

12 WAITSFIELD Moderate acreage of suitable private forest landbase Moderate acreage of suitable private forest landbase Small to moderate amount of 30-60% slopes Small to moderate amount of 30-60% slopes Small to moderate percentage with conservation easements Small to moderate percentage with conservation easements Small amount suitable public lands Small amount suitable public lands

13 WARREN Moderate to large acreage of suitable private forest landbase Moderate to large acreage of suitable private forest landbase Substantial amount of 30-60% slopes Substantial amount of 30-60% slopes Small percentage with conservation easements Small percentage with conservation easements Largest amount of suitable public lands, but perhaps slope constraints Largest amount of suitable public lands, but perhaps slope constraints

14 Tree Growth Per Year Leak et al. (1987) – Northern Hardwoods modeling Leak et al. (1987) – Northern Hardwoods modeling Intensively managed – 1.7 green tons per acre Intensively managed – 1.7 green tons per acre Unmanaged – 1.2 green tons per acre Unmanaged – 1.2 green tons per acre Sherman (2007) – based on FIA plot data Sherman (2007) – based on FIA plot data Washington County – 2.9 green tons per acre Washington County – 2.9 green tons per acre Frieswyk and Widman (2000) – based FIA plot data Frieswyk and Widman (2000) – based FIA plot data 1.25 green tons per acre 1.25 green tons per acre Frank and Bjorkbom (1973) – Spruce-Fir modeling Frank and Bjorkbom (1973) – Spruce-Fir modeling Best case scenario – 1.25 green tons per acre Best case scenario – 1.25 green tons per acre

15 Estimated Low-Quality Wood Amounts in green tons/year Most conservative estimate = ~29,000 Most conservative estimate = ~29,000 Lowest growth rate, lowest amount low-quality Lowest growth rate, lowest amount low-quality Very believable Very believable Approximately 1.8 cords/person/year Approximately 1.8 cords/person/year Mid-range estimate = ~49,600 Mid-range estimate = ~49,600 Middle growth rate, middle amount low quality Middle growth rate, middle amount low quality Perhaps, with more intensive management Perhaps, with more intensive management About 3 cords/person/year About 3 cords/person/year High estimate = ~99,100 High estimate = ~99,100 Highest growth rate, highest amount low quality Highest growth rate, highest amount low quality Not supported by recent data Not supported by recent data

16 Unanswered Questions How much of the available and future wood in the woodshed is/will be low-quality wood whose ‘best’ use after harvest would be for burning? How much of the available and future wood in the woodshed is/will be low-quality wood whose ‘best’ use after harvest would be for burning? What is the actual growth per year? What is the actual growth per year? The models show substantial variation The models show substantial variation Without intensive field data collection in a specific woodshed, we don’t know how reliable the estimates are for any actual landscape Without intensive field data collection in a specific woodshed, we don’t know how reliable the estimates are for any actual landscape

17 Where to Place Confidence? Leak et al. model for unmanaged forests and recent FIA-based estimates coincide rather closely Leak et al. model for unmanaged forests and recent FIA-based estimates coincide rather closely Sherman growth estimates appear too high Sherman growth estimates appear too high A whole lot depends on management intensity, which depends on balancing numerous values, not merely maximizing biomass for burning A whole lot depends on management intensity, which depends on balancing numerous values, not merely maximizing biomass for burning Landowner choices are, perhaps, the greatest unknown Landowner choices are, perhaps, the greatest unknown

18 What to Continue Questioning Can our forests provide us with large amounts of biomass for energy while continuing to provide the other ecosystem functions and services we expect and hope for? Can our forests provide us with large amounts of biomass for energy while continuing to provide the other ecosystem functions and services we expect and hope for? Will landowners opt for more intensive management to strive for greater forest biomass? Will landowners opt for more intensive management to strive for greater forest biomass? As management proceeds over many decades, centuries, how much will the proportion of the low-quality wood supply diminish? As management proceeds over many decades, centuries, how much will the proportion of the low-quality wood supply diminish?

19 Thank you! & Time for Questions


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