Biochar and bluestain | SummitDaily.com

Biochar and bluestain

STAFF REPORTsummit daily news

SUMMIT COUNTY Adding scorched biomass to soils and developing markets for beetle-killed trees are key topics this week for local forest health interests.The forest health task force will meet at 7:30 a.m. Thursday for a presentation on biochar carbon sequestration by Bernie Weingardt a former Dillon District Ranger who now heads the Pacific Southwest region of the U.S. Forest Service.Amending soils with toasted biomass (essentially crumbled charcoal) is not a new idea. Pre-Columbian Native Americans used the practice to enhance poor soils. But now the process is getting a serious look on a large scale by the government, according to a press release from the task force.The process is being touted as a means for addressing climate change, desertification and biodiversity. For more information, go to http://www.biochar.org/joomla/.Also on the task forcer agenda is discussion on the progress of a number of task force projects, including an in-school education program and several wood use initiatives.

The private sector remains the best opportunity for improving protection from catastrophic wildfire in Summit County and neighboring mountain communities, according to Silverthorne resident Howard Hallman.Hallman, a chief organizer with the Forest Health Task Force, said a community roundtable Thursday evening will address the emerging markets for beetle-killed wood.Finding the highest and best economic use for beetle killed trees is key for generating incentives for local business to remove and process wood for the consumer market, Hallman said.Companies processing wood as fuel for energy and heat production, including Confluence Energy of Kremmling, will continue to be the largest users of dead and dying trees salvaged from local forests. The roundtable is designed to provide an opportunity for sharing ideas on how best to promote blue stain pine in remodeling projects as well as in the construction of new homes, businesses and public buildings.Joe Duda, forest management division supervisor with the Colorado State Forest Service, will be on hand to describe the agencys Colorado Forest Products initiative, expressly designed to market wood products from forest restoration and fuels reduction efforts in Colorado forests. Information about the program is online at http://www.coloradoforestproducts.org. The roundtable is free and open to the public. Inquiries about the event may be directed to Howard Hallman at (719) 491-1807 or Sandy Briggs at (970) 389-0987.