I recently travelled to the US to see the forests impacted by EU bioenergy policy and the increased demand for wood pellets. All photos by me, Matt Adam Williams.
The forests of North Carolina are incredibly rich in wildlife, including this little lizard I found.
One of my favourite moments had to be when we saw a bald eagle from a boat we took a trip on.
This is a pile of whole trees sitting at the Ahoskie pellet mill. These trees will be turned into wood pellets that are then shipped across to the UK or other countries to be burned for electricity. We know that this practice can be very bad for the climate and devastating for the wildlife that depends on the forests these trees came from.
This is one of the clearcuts we saw. We stumbled across this one and we don't know for certain if it is linked to felling for wood pellets. But Dogwood Alliance know that many clearcuts in the area are linked to the wood pellet industry, as they have followed the trucks of logs from the clearcuts to the gates of the wood pellet mills. Many of those clearcuts, like this one, used to be beautiful hardwood forest full of wildlife.
I’ve been back from the USA almost a week now. As you’ll know if you’ve read my previous blogs about my trip, I went out there to see the impacts of UK and EU bioenergy policies. The beautiful forests are being cut down and turned into wood pellets that in many cases are being shipped to the UK to be burned in our power stations.
But after seeing the impacts for myself, and meeting with the decision makers, what are the next steps and what can we do to make sure that the wrong kinds of bioenergy aren’t being used and that the right kinds are?
The next two years are a critical time for bioenergy in the US, the UK and the EU. Decision makers need to make decisions that support the right kinds of biomass and rule out the ones that put the climate and wildlife at risk.
So, my biomass fact finding mission to the US is coming to a close. Here are ten things that I learned while I was here: