East and West

In the fall of 2018 two catastrophic events scarred the Eastern Italian Alps and California; in the Alps an extra-tropical storm felled something like half a million trees while in California the worst ever Camp Fire ravaged entire communities.

Both these events remind us that well-meaning, but thoroughly uniformed environmentalist, misunderstand the protection of the Virgin Tropical Forests with the care for the temperate forests causing great damage and exposing us all to great liabilities. 

Using Italy as an example (but California is not that different), protection and neglect of forests and farmland result in a constant under utilisation of the natural regrowth of biomass in the forests. Instead of caring for the National woods and Forests Italy imports annually more than 10 million cubic meters of wood while the annual increment is near to 40 million. This imbalance poses not only environmental costs caused by the transportation on wheels for all this material but also it poses a constant liability (due to fires) and a constant environmental damage caused by the rotting biomass "naturally" abandoned on the ground. 

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The fallen trees of Bedoll Piano - Fall 2018

On a European scale only 484 million cubic meters of the commercial biomass is exploited compared with 768 million cubic meters of natural annual regrowth but the loss potential is much broader if we consider all the material that could be harvested from "non commercial" sources. https://www.reterurale.it/foreste

Even if Italy does not face the Beetle epidemic that is ravaging the West foliage damage is rampant and over one third of the tress suffers heavy defoliation increasing the fire hazard. 

Sick, broken, fallen, invasive ... we need to reestablish a collective form of care for our forests, inside and outside of cities. From East to West we need to resume the stewardship of the natural environment by carefully and selectively extract all the material that poses a risk to a healthy biodiversity and can be used to reduce our collective carbon foot print and provide economic resources to the local communities. 

Each 1000 ton of sick, broken, fallen and invasive waste Biomass that we can extract from the forests in and around our cities can save us 1550 ton of CO2 equivalent from the rotting \ naturally degrading biomass. 

Each 1000 ton of sick, broken, fallen and invasive biomass that we can extract from the forests in and around our cities can be pyro-gasified into BioSyngas the equivalent of 200'000 cubic meters of Natural gas saving and extra 200 ton of CO2 averted emissions from "fossil" fuels.

Each 1000 ton of sick, broken, fallen and invasive biomass that we can extract from the forests in and around our cities can produce 200 ton of Biochar permanently sequestering the equivalent of 600 ton of CO2.

But to the contrary what happens ?  Well-meaning, but thoroughly uniformed environmentalist, call for the end of biomass use confusing two very different problems !


It is true that we should protect the tropical forests of Latin America and the ancient forest of eastern Europe and we should shame the City of Stockholm for importing chip wood from LatAm https://www.aftonbladet.se/nyheter/a/vmBmqp/sa-varmer-amazonas-regnskog-upp-stockholm-i-vinter and we should shame Italy for importing each year 10 million ton of wood.

But it is false to conclude that we should not care for our forests and we should not extract as much renewable and sustainable energy from the forest around our cities.

It is wrong to let the fallen trees rot on the ground because there is not a local value chain capable of processing and using the material felled by the storm


The sooner we accept that temperate forests need a different care from tropical forests, the better. 

The sooner we understand that abandoning forests is not only a liability but a running damage, the better.

The sooner we organize our communities to go out in the fresh air and perform the physical activity needed to clear the woods from sick, broken, fallen, and invasive trees, the better.

The sooner the better, the sooner the healthier for the our Urban Forests and for our communities.

The sooner we get our act together and start NOT ONLY planting trees BUT ALSO get organized to care for them in the best possible way so that the biomass they will produce becomes an asset and not a liability, the better.

The sooner we join the https://www.wfuf2018.com/en-ww/call-for-action.aspx the better !

Why sooner is better than later ? just look at beautiful images from "Before the Flood" https://youtu.be/DldSBIja2Kw