Does the public support beetle-kill bioenergy?
New industries need social license to operate within their communities, and are affected by public policies at the local, state, and federal level. Engaging local stakeholders is essential to determine how they perceive the potential economic benefits, local environmental effects, and other impacts (noise, traffic) of increased forest management and new bioenergy industries sprouting up in their region. Additionally, increased economic activities bring new concerns about worker health and safety, in this case in the forests where beetle-kill is being harvested, at the facilities in which it is processed, where the resulting biochar is used, and points in between.
BANR Research Teams Addressing this Question:
- The Socioeconomic & Policy Analysis team (Task 3.6) is engaging with area stakeholders to determine how social preferences, competing economic goals, or policy barriers might preclude the harvest of otherwise available biomass
- The Education team (Task 4) is working with educators across the BANR project area from K-12 through graduate level to promote energy literacy and understanding of sustainability issues in forest management
- The Extension & Outreach team (Task 5) serves as a two-way information conduit between BANR researchers, forest landowners, and bioenergy practitioners to facilitate both the communication of public knowledge gaps and needs to project researchers and the appropriate dissemination of research products back to the public
- The Health & Safety team (Task 6) is collaborating with our industrial partners to investigate and respond to any challenges with regard to the health and safety of forestry workers, plant operators, or local communities that might potentially arise from extraction, production and transportation of biofuel, biochar, and/or other bioenergy feedstocks and products, as well as those that might arise from the alternatives such as leaving beetle-killed wood in the forest