Wood markets play a critical role in wildfire prevention
By Joseph Roise
Through proactive sustainable management and maintenance of forests, foresters and partnerships between private landowners and the forestry industry play a crucial role to help reduce the risk of wildfires.
A key component of wildfire prevention is preparation and the vigilant adherence to common forest management practices which can drastically reduce susceptibility to wildfires. The most cost effective method of reducing risk is thinning the forest to create space between trees, which makes it less likely that the fire will spread from tree to tree. This leaves smaller and unhealthy trees as well as branch debris, limbs and underbrush which is also fuel for the fire.
Proactive forest management is incentivized by forest product sectors like the wood energy industry, which affixes new value to previously low-value thinned wood fiber. This makes thinning in more cases cost-effective. Through sustainable forest management techniques markets created, or bolstered by, forestry industry segments like wood energy, contribute to forests’ long term health. Wood energy is often sourced from wood fiber that is underutilized or has no other market in that region. The smaller trees thinned out support industry while at the same time reduce the occurrence and spread of wildfires.
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