Most of us Nor’Westers are acquainted with the benefit of locally grown food — it just tastes better. But beyond the taste buds, local products help support our local economy, and in the bigger picture, it burns a whole lot less fuel than buying vegetables from the Central Valley in California. OK, we get it.
But one sector of locally grown products that often gets overlooked is forest products. Did you know that those few 2x4s for the DIY project from the big box store could have been grown hundreds or thousands of miles away from your home? Forest products that are certified (ie, “green wood”) don’t necessarily come from “local wood”.
If you’re looking for products from NW forests, or “Cascadia Forests”, as we like to say, there’s a new way to find those products. Cascade Harvest Coalition and Puget Sound Fresh have dedicated a website to finding locally grown products. While the main emphasis of the website has been on farms, CSAs and Farmers Markets, Puget Sound Fresh is now promoting locally grown forest products. These products could be anything from chanterelles to timbers.
Tree farms, mills and stores that market locally grown forest products are encouraged to advertise their products through listing on the Puget Sound Fresh website. If you’re interested, you can submit a website listing form (click HERE for form and directions).
Partnership for Rural King County (PRKC) and Stewardship in Action (SiA) are approaching completion of the Patterson/Raging Focused Stewardship project. Below is a “clickable/zoomable” map that lists the status of each land parcel, as of August 27, 2011. A lot of farms and forests have benefited from planting, restoration and other productive land practices AND hundreds of landowners have had the opportunity to get expert advice from local resource professionals!
Utilizing forest biomass for energy production is in vogue in the Pacific Northwest right now. Nippon Industries in Port Angeles, WA is moving toward building a 20 megawatt project. One recurring theme seems to trip-up this sort of energy solution: CO2 is a primary by-product of the generation process. While some argue that burning biomass is still carbon neutral since CO2 is released from the biomass over time anyway, it remains an issue if you’re a member of the camp that wants to reduce CO2 emissions NOW.
One possibility to greatly reduce emissions in biomass energy production is algal synthesis. MBD Energy is currently working on pilots to turn power plant CO2 emissions into oil, feedstock and water. The development hurdles are enormous but potentially do-able.
Professor Chris Rhodes of the U. K. had these observations about algae:
Nonetheless, there is a consortium (National Algae Association) in the U.S. that is actively seeking a future in which algae are grown on a large scale and converted to oil-alternative fuels. Certainly, it is likely that algae will become an essential component of the mix of means to keep transportation going by means other than crude oil.
The claims of the NAA are undoubtedly true, that ultimately the supply of petroleum must decline, oil prices will continue to be volatile with knife-edge consequences for the world economy, and a wholesale industry based on algae would provide precious and needed jobs and economic development in the U.S. The approach could be introduced on necessary levels for all nations and even a village “pressure cooker” to provide algal fuels for small communities.
More news at 11 . . . . .