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Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: This is the first quarterly Technical Report for the period October-December, 2003. A kick-off meeting was held with NETL administrators and scientists at Morgantown, WV, on December 2, 2002. The purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. During this first quarterly reporting period, five Graduate Research Assistants were recruited, an MOA was drafted between Virginia Tech and three industry cooperators, preliminary field locations for controlled studies were located, and a preliminary analysis of a carbon inventory of forest sites on mined land was made.
Date: February 4, 2002
Creator: Burger, Dr. James A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. We are currently estimating the acreage of lands in VA, WV, KY, OH, and PA mined under SMCRA and reclaimed to non-forested post-mining land uses that are not currently under active management, and therefore can be considered as available for carbon sequestration. To determine actual sequestration under different forest management scenarios, a field study was installed as a 3 x 3 factorial in a random complete block design with three replications at each of three locations, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia. The treatments included three forest types (white pine, hybrid poplar, mixed hardwood) and three silvicultural regimes (competition control, competition control plus tillage, competition control plus tillage plus fertilization). Each individual treatment plot is 0.5 acres. Each block of nine plots is 4.5 acres, and the complete installation at each site is 13.5 acres. During the reporting period we compiled and evaluated all soil properties measured on the study sites. Statistical analysis of the properties was conducted, and first year survival and growth of white pine, hybrid poplars, and native hardwoods was assessed. Hardwood species survived better at all sites than white pine or hybrid poplar. Hardwood survival across treatments was 80%, 85%, and 50% for sites in Virginia, West Virginia, and Ohio, respectively, while white pine survival was 27%, 41%, and 58%, and hybrid poplar survival was 37%, 41%, and 72% for the same sites, respectively. Hybrid poplar height and diameter growth were superior to those of the other species tested, with the height growth of this species reaching 126.6cm after one year in the most intensive treatment at the site ...
Date: June 8, 2005
Creator: Burger, James A.; Galbraith, J.; Fox, T.; Amacher, G.; Sullivan, J. & Zipper, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. In this segment of work, our goal was to review methods for estimating tree survival, growth, yield and value of forests growing on surface mined land in the eastern coalfields of the USA, and to determine the extent to which carbon sequestration is influenced by these factors. Public Law 95-87, the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (SMCRA), mandates that mined land be reclaimed in a fashion that renders the land at least as productive after mining as it was before mining. In the central Appalachian region, where prime farmland and economic development opportunities for mined land are scarce, the most practical land use choices are hayland/pasture, wildlife habitat, or forest land. Since 1977, the majority of mined land has been reclaimed as hayland/pasture or wildlife habitat, which is less expensive to reclaim than forest land, since there are no tree planting costs. As a result, there are now hundreds of thousands of hectares of grasslands and scrublands in various stages of natural succession located throughout otherwise forested mountains in the U.S. A literature review was done to develop the basis for an economic feasibility study of a range of land-use conversion scenarios. Procedures were developed for both mixed hardwoods and white pine under a set of low product prices and under a set of high product prices. Economic feasibility is based on land expectation values. Further, our review shows that three types of incentive schemes might be important: (1) lump sum payment at planting (and equivalent series of annual payments); (2) revenue incentive at harvest; and (3) benefit based ...
Date: December 15, 2003
Creator: Aggett, Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. In this quarterly report, we present a preliminary comparison of the carbon sequestration benefits for two forest types used to convert abandoned grasslands for carbon sequestration. Annual mixed hardwood benefits, based on total stand carbon volume present at the end of a given year, range from a minimum of $0/ton of carbon to a maximum of $5.26/ton of carbon (low prices). White pine benefits based on carbon volume range from a minimum of $0/ton of carbon to a maximum of $18.61/ton of carbon (high prices). The higher maximum white pine carbon payment can primarily be attributed to the fact that the shorter rotation means that payments for white pine carbon are being made on far less cumulative carbon tonnage than for that of the long-rotation hardwoods. Therefore, the payment per ton of white pine carbon needs to be higher than that of the hardwoods in order to render the conversion to white pine profitable by the end of a rotation. These carbon payments may seem appealingly low to the incentive provider. However, payments (not discounted) made over a full rotation may add up to approximately $17,493/ha for white pine (30-year rotation), and $18,820/ha for mixed hardwoods (60-year rotation). The literature suggests a range of carbon sequestration costs, from $0/ton of carbon to $120/ton of carbon, although the majority of studies suggest a cost below $50/ ton of carbon, with van Kooten et al. (2000) suggesting a cutoff cost of $20/ton of carbon sequestered. Thus, the ranges of carbon payments estimated for this study fall well within the ranges of carbon sequestration costs ...
Date: December 18, 2003
Creator: Burger, J.; Galbraith, J.; Fox, T.; Amacher, G.; Sullivan, J. & Zipper, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. We are currently estimating the acreage of lands in VA, WV, KY, OH, and PA mined under SMCRA and reclaimed to non-forested post-mining land uses that are not currently under active management, and therefore can be considered as available for carbon sequestration. To determine actual sequestration under different forest management scenarios, a field study was installed as a 3 x 3 factorial in a random complete block design with three replications at each of three locations, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia. The treatments included three forest types (white pine, hybrid poplar, mixed hardwood) and three silvicultural regimes (competition control, competition control plus tillage, competition control plus tillage plus fertilization). Each individual treatment plot is 0.5 acres. Each block of nine plots requires 4.5 acres, and the complete installation at each site requires 13.5 acres. The plots at all three locations have been installed and the plot corners marked with PVC stakes. GPS coordinates of each plot have been collected. Soil samples were collected from each plot to characterize the sites prior to treatment. Baseline soil carbon was determined for each of the eighty-one plots. Fertility analysis of soil samples was completed and these data were used to prepare fertilizer prescriptions and the pre-designated plots were fertilized. We also evaluated economic-based policy instruments that are designed to mitigate the reforestation burden borne by the owner of reclaimed mined land. Results suggest that although profitability of reforestation of these previously reclaimed mine lands may be achievable on better sites under lower interest rates, substantial payments would be required to reach ''profitability'' under many conditions.
Date: August 4, 2004
Creator: Burger, J.; Galbraith, J.; Fox, T.; Amacher, G.; Sullivan, J. & Zipper, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. In this quarterly report, we present a preliminary comparison of the carbon sequestration potential of forests growing on 14 mined sites in a seven-state region in the Midwestern and Eastern Coalfields. Carbon contents of these forests were compared to adjacent forests on non-mined land. The study was installed as a 3 x 3 factorial in a random complete block design with three replications at each location. The treatments include three forest types (white pine, hybrid poplar, mixed hardwood) and three silvicultural regimes (competition control, competition control plus tillage, competition control plus tillage plus fertilization). Each individual treatment plot is 0.5 acres. Each block of nine plots requires 4.5 acres, and the complete installation at each site requires 13.5 acres. The plots at all three locations have been installed and the plot corners marked with PVC stakes. GPS coordinates of each plot have been collected. Soil samples were collected from each plot to characterize the sites prior to treatment. Analysis of soil samples was completed and these data are being used to prepare fertilizer prescriptions. Fertilizer prescripts will be developed for each site. Fertilizer will be applied during the second quarter 2004. Data are included as appendices in this report. As part of our economic analysis of mined land reforestation, we focused on the implications of a shift in reforestation burden from the landowner to the mine operator. Results suggest that the reforestation of mined lands as part of the mining operation creates a viable and profitable forest enterprise for landowners with greater potential for carbon sequestration.
Date: June 4, 2004
Creator: Burger, J.; Galbraith, J.; Fox, T.; Amacher, G.; Sullivan, J. & Zipper, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. We are currently estimating the acreage of lands in VA, WV, KY, OH, and PA mined under SMCRA and reclaimed to non-forested post-mining land uses that are not currently under active management, and therefore can be considered as available for carbon sequestration. To determine actual sequestration under different forest management scenarios, a field study was installed as a 3 x 3 factorial in a random complete block design with three replications at each of three locations, Ohio, West Virginia, and Virginia. The treatments included three forest types (white pine, hybrid poplar, mixed hardwood) and three silvicultural regimes (competition control, competition control plus tillage, competition control plus tillage plus fertilization). Each individual treatment plot is 0.5 acres. Each block of nine plots requires 4.5 acres, and the complete installation at each site requires 13.5 acres. The plots at all three locations have been installed and the plot corners marked with PVC stakes. GPS coordinates of each plot have been collected. Tree survival, height and diameter were measured after the first growing season. There were significant treatment and treatment x site interactions. A STELLA{reg_sign}-based model helped us develop insight as to whether it is possible to differentiate the permanent SOC from the C contained in the labile forms of SOM. The model can be used for predicting the amount of C sequestered on mine lands, and the amount of C that is expected to reside in the mine soil for more than 1,000 years. Based on our work, it appears that substantial carbon payments to landowners would be required to reach ''profitability'' under present ...
Date: November 29, 2004
Creator: Burger, James A.; Galbraith, J.; Fox, T.; Amacher, G.; Sullivan, J. & Zipper, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Restoring Sustainable Forests on Appalachian Mined Lands for Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Carbon Sequestration, and Other Ecosystems Services Quarterly Report

Description: The overall purpose of this project is to evaluate the biological and economic feasibility of restoring high-quality forests on mined land, and to measure carbon sequestration and wood production benefits that would be achieved from forest restoration procedures. During the reporting period (October-December 2004) we completed the validation of a forest productivity classification model for mined land. A coefficient of determination (R{sup 2}) of 0.68 confirms the model's ability to predict SI based on a selection of mine soil properties. To determine carbon sequestration under different forest management scenarios, a field study was installed as a 3 x 3 factorial in a random complete block design with three replications at each of three locations, Ohio (Figure 1), West Virginia (Figure 2), and Virginia (Figure 3). The treatments included three forest types (white pine, hybrid poplar, mixed hardwood) and three silvicultural regimes (competition control, competition control plus tillage, competition control plus tillage plus fertilization). For hybrid poplar, total plant biomass differences increased significantly with the intensity of silvicultural input. Root, stem, and foliage biomass also increased with the level of silvicultural intensity. Financial feasibility analyses of reforestation on mined lands previously reclaimed to grassland have been completed for conversion to white pine and mixed hardwood species. Examination of potential policy instruments for promoting financial feasibility also have been completed, including lump sum payments at time of conversion, annual payments through the life of the stand, and payments based on carbon sequestration that provide both minimal profitability and fully offset initial reforestation outlays. We have compiled a database containing mine permit information obtained from permitting agencies in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky. Due to differences and irregularities in permitting procedures between states, we found it necessary to utilize an alternative method to determine mined land acreages in the Appalachian region. ...
Date: February 15, 2005
Creator: Burger, James A.; Galbraith, J.; Fox, T.; Amacher, G.; Sullivan, J. & Zipper, C.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department