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Contact information
If you have questions, contact:
Kristen Tomaszewski
608-266-5202

Statewide Forest Action Plan Part 2: StrategyTheme C: Energy and climate change

The goals, strategies and actions below describe possible steps to address the issues that have the potential to significantly impact Wisconsin’s forests. You can also read detailed descriptions [PDF] about the goals and strategies on this page.

K. Forests provide raw materials for energy and traditional forest products at a level that sustains forest ecosystems and the productive capacity of the land

Use of woody biomass for energy is done in a way that produces a high energy return on biomass input.

26. Strategy: Collect information and develop policy to ensure efficient and sustainable use of our forest resources in regards to energy production.

Possible actions:

  • 26.1. Conduct life cycle analysis of wood products to determine value provided in terms of energy efficiency, environmental impacts and reduction in greenhouse gases.
  • 26.2. Determine the environmental impacts and benefits of various methods of biomass production (harvesting from naturally managed forests vs. plantations vs. short rotation woody crops).
  • 26.3. Provide guidelines for determining preferred species, locations and methods for growing woody biomass. Monitor effectiveness of existing guidelines for harvesting woody biomass.
  • 26.4. Analyze the various policies for agroforestry produced biomass and subsequent policy implications.

27. Strategy: Encourage establishment of sustainable renewable energy industries (or use of renewable energy by industries) which use woody biomass while improving or maintaining the health of the existing forest products industry.

Possible actions:

  • 27.1. Develop a forest bioeconomy strategic map that provides clarity and direction to ensure timely and sound development of the forest biomass resource by:
    • providing market participants with sound information on the size and nature of the forest biomass supply;
    • providing policy makers with recommendations to expand the supply of biomass in ways that are complimentary to the policy framework;
    • evaluating bioenergy market opportunities and their contribution to Wisconsin; and
    • providing policy makers with recommendations to advance priority bioenergy market opportunities and identifying regions where bioenergy industry is lacking but resources are available.
  • 27.2. Increase amount of readily available biomass from non-industrial private forests, plantations, reforestation, under-utilized species, commercial thinning, urban/waste sources and hazardous mitigation projects in WUI areas.
L. Forests are established and managed in a manner that increases their resilience and ability to facilitate adaptation of associated species and communities to changing climatic conditions

28. Strategy: Seek to understand the probability and severity of future climate change impacts.

Possible actions:

  • 28.1. Develop mapping tools and models and monitor sensitive sites for early climate change impacts.
  • 28.2. Promote an understanding of characteristics that would impact forest vulnerability (e.g. genetics, seed transfer, site and fire severity).
  • 28.3. Facilitate regional collaboration, sharing of information and recommendations for adaptation strategies for climate change.
  • 28.4. Model the impacts of adding canopy cover to urban areas on a five percent additive increase to 100 percent canopy cover to assess the mitigation value versus cost at various levels.
  • 28.5. Integrate state actions with regional and national adaptation activities.
  • 28.6. As knowledge is gained regarding the impacts of climate change, communicate with the public and educate them on adaptation measures.
  • 28.7. Evaluate the costs of policy choices in terms of risk mitigation (i.e. cost of doing nothing and/or cost of being wrong).

29. Strategy: Attempt to improve the defenses of the forest and increase the resilience of natural systems to future climate change impacts.

Possible actions:

  • 29.1. Evaluate the resilience of high conservation value forests and their ability to persist in climate change.
  • 29.2. Promote the use of existing forest management best practices that improve the current vigor of forests.
  • 29.3. Increase diversity (age, species evenness) in urban and rural forests.
  • 29.4. Facilitate rapid regeneration for appropriate forest types following disturbance or harvest.

30. Strategy: Intentionally accommodate change and enable forest ecosystems to adaptively respond.

Possible actions:

  • 30.1. Evaluate whether the various actions, policies or laws regarding managing forests for adaptation and mitigation, biomass, energy, etc. conflict with one another.
  • 30.2. Promote system connectivity to provide migration (seed) routes or evaluate assisted species migration.
  • 30.3. Develop, utilize and track seed zones in producing and distributing forest seedlings.
  • 30.4. Encourage a re-evaluation of site management goals to accommodate species diversity and adaptation to a changing climate.

31. Strategy: Realign forest ecosystems to new conditions caused by climate change.

Possible actions:

  • 31.1. Develop protocol for managing areas that can no longer sustain forest cover types due to climate change (e.g. tamarack swamp).
M. Forests will increasingly be used as a tool to mitigate climate change

32. Strategy: Manage forest ecosystems (rural and urban) to sequester additional carbon while retaining the abundance of other benefits forests provide.

Possible actions:

  • 32.1. Increase and maintain existing urban tree canopies (this is for both carbon sequestration and mitigating heating/cooling).
  • 32.2. Facilitate partnerships between public and private sectors that foster initiatives for increasing carbon sequestration while supporting other sustainable forest management goals.
  • 32.3. Connect landowners with incentive programs for forest management that include ecosystem services.
  • 32.4. Establish a balance of forest vigor and the production of durable wood products.
  • 32.5. Quantify stormwater mitigation from urban forests.
  • 32.6. Identify appropriate land areas where forest carbon sequestration can be easily increased (e.g. increase stocking and afforestation).

33. Strategy: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by substituting wood for products that have a more energy intensive carbon footprint (i.e. non-wood building materials such as steel and concrete).

Possible actions:

  • 33.1. Develop industry opportunities that produce long-lived, durable wood products while minimizing the carbon output it takes to get raw products to mills.
  • 33.2. Develop incentive programs that encourage purchasing long-lived products (e.g. tax credits people get when they buy appliances (similar to energy star) "wood credits")

34. Strategy: Utilize best management practices to minimize emissions from forest-based activities and production.

Possible actions:

  • 34.1. Advocate for policy choices that minimize carbon lifecycle emissions.
  • 34.2. Reduce the carbon footprint of forest operations through actions such as biofuel alternatives to carbon based fuels and lubricants in equipment.
  • 34.3. Reduce forest land conversions that result in deforestation.
  • 34.4. Aggressively suppress wildfires to reduce carbon emissions.
  • 34.5. Promote the reduced emissions benefits of low impact forest recreational activities.

35. Strategy: Increase the awareness of carbon markets by private forest landowners and facilitate their participation in established carbon markets.

Possible actions:

  • 35.1. Facilitate partnerships between public and private sectors that foster initiatives for increasing carbon sequestration while supporting other sustainable forest management goals.
  • 35.2. Increase non-industrial private forest owner’s accessibility to third party certification systems for sustainably managed lands in order to facilitate participating in carbon markets.
  • 35.3. Promote sustainable management including afforestation and planting as a way to participate in carbon markets or reduce GHG impact.
  • 35.4. Increase affordable assistance for non-industrial private forest owners to develop forest management plans at the level of detail needed to participate in carbon markets.
  • 35.5. Increase the capacity of professional foresters to assist landowners in learning about and entering into carbon markets.

36. Strategy: Ensure that climate policy reflects the potential positive contributions that forest conservation and sustainable management can make to achieving substantial net reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Possible actions:

  • 36.1. In order to make the most informed decisions, increase the understanding of forestry organizations and landowners on the items being debated for participation in carbon markets (e.g. additionality and permanence).
  • 36.2. Increase coordination between regional forestry interests (government, partners and industry) in order to provide recommendations and comments on proposed federal legislation and policies from a regional perspective (i.e. a unified regional voice).
Last revised: Monday October 12 2015