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Sustainability and Job Creation

Slash removal and microbial communities

Monitoring equipment at the NARA long-term soil productivity site.
Monitoring equipment at the NARA long-term soil productivity site.

A key issue attached to the use of post-harvest forest residuals (slash) to make biojet fuel and other chemical products is how slash removal impacts the productivity and ecology of a working forest. The USDA-NIFA, through the NARA project, funds research to evaluate the impacts of slash …more

Measuring soil nutrient levels of intensively harvested forests

 

Soil monitoring equipment
Soil monitoring equipment

Those who consider the use of port-harvest forest residuals as a feedstock for biofuel or energy production are interested to know how biomass removal affects soil temperature, water retention and nutrient levels. These effects are being measured at Long-Term Soil Productivity Sites (LTSP) throughout the U.S including the NARA LTSP site in southern Oregon. As the name implies, …more

NARA soil productivity research update

Test plot at LTSP site in Springfield, OR: no residual removal
Test plot at LTSP site in Springfield, OR: no residual removal

Dr. Scott Holub from Weyerhaeuser presented an update on research at the NARA long-term soil productivity site near Springfield OR. This presentation is part of a webinar series provided by the McCall Outdoor Science School and is used to bring NARA research …more

Determining soil nitrogen content in working forests

Data probes in deep soil
Data probes in deep soil

Trees need nitrogen to grow. If soil nitrogen levels are low, then growth is limited. The ability to accurately monitor the amount of soil nitrogen in a working forest is helpful for predicting future growth and for knowing when to take corrective action (fertilizer, altered management practices) when soil nitrogen levels decline.

Efforts to monitor …more

Determining CO2 emissions over time

Representation of carbon balance in the working forest. Image contained in paper:
Representation of carbon balance in the working forest. Image contained in paper:

The USDA-NIFA, through NARA, funds research to determine the environmental impact from a wood-based biofuel and chemical industry. To gauge how this industry would affect greenhouse gas (GHG) levels, a life cycle assessment (LCA) is being developed. In this case, …more

New report traces 2011 wood products trends in Idaho

Front cover of the report
Front cover of the report

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research team at the University of Montana, a NARA affiliate member, just published a report titled Idaho’s Forest Products Industry and Timber Harvest 2011 with Trends Through 2013According to the report’s abstract,

“This report traces the flow of Idaho’s 2011 timber harvest through the primary industries; provides a …more

Collecting, processing and transporting forest residuals at the lowest cost

Image from paper showing potential transport and processing choices.
Image from Zamora-Cristales et al. (2014) paper showing potential transport and processing choices.

One of the biggest economic challenges to using forest residuals as a feedstock for biofuel production is the cost of residue collection, processing and transport. Based on NARA’s preliminary analysis, nearly 18% of the manufacturing cost for biojet fuel is associated with …more

NARA’s 2014 Cumulative Report is available online

Webpage for NARA's 2nd Cumulative report
Webpage for NARA’s 2nd Cumulative report

NARA’s second Cumulative Report is now available online. This report describes research efforts and activities conducted between April 2013 through March 2014.

You can view the NARA Cumulative Report: April 2013-March 2014 here.

Progress reports are sectioned within the Project’s five goals: Sustainable Biojet, Value Lignin Co-Products, Rural Economic …more