Look at that cute little forest over there:
Maryland-based Enviva, criticized by environmentalists for mills that make wood pellets to be burned as fuel in European power plants, said Wednesday it is spending $295,000 for grants that will help two conservation groups protect bottomland forests in North Carolina.
The Triangle Land Conservancy will receive $100,000 to help acquire a conservation easement on 127 wooded acres near Beaverdam Lake and the Neuse River east of Raleigh. The Nature Conservancy North Carolina chapter will receive $195,000 toward the $935,000 purchase of 1,294 acres of forested wetlands on the Roanoke River in Washington County.
If anybody reading this is on the boards or otherwise associated with these two (great) non-profits, please try to focus on the big picture. And that big picture is missing hundreds of thousands of acres of forests in the Southeast already, and NC hardwoods are being chopped up at an alarming rate:
But using hardwood trees from bottomlands results in a different carbon calculation, Abt says. Using these species of trees requires a much longer time to make up for the released carbon, as bottomland hardwoods grow more slowly. Abt also points out that floodplain forests, which are typically owned by smaller, private owners, tend not to be certified to adhere to sustainability standards. Regeneration in bottomlands also tends to be more variable and depends on local hydrological conditions.
When a mill consumes nearly a million tons of wood a year, it’s difficult to track where every single tree comes from, according to Abt and other experts. But Forisk, a consulting company that tracks forest industry trends, calculates that the majority of the wood used at Enviva’s Ahoskie, N.C., mill comes from hardwood trees — including those typically found in wetland forests.
Generally, wood pellet mills in North Carolina and Virginia are more reliant on these slower-to-regrow hardwoods, while mills in Georgia, for instance, mainly utilize plantation pines, Abt says. These two different classes of trees are “on different ends of the spectrum” when it comes to both forestry management and how much carbon is released and sequestered, he notes.
More than 168,000 acres of forest are at risk of being cut down for producing wood pellets for one facility.
Bolding mine. NC currently has two facilities, and is on track to add (at least) three more. Do the math, and then tell me how those two relatively tiny tracts will accomplish anything other than misdirection.