University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Research Project

Community Biomass

Enhancing the sustainability of community-based biomass production and conservation for local energy through university-community partnerships

With energy costs increasing rapidly, more communities in the Northern Forest are exploring options for producing and using energy from local forest biomass. Yet questions remain about how forest biomass can be produced sustainably under increasing pressures for use and conservation.

The Center is currently partnering with the Northern Forest Alliance, VT Family Forests and the University of Vermont Rubenstein School for Natural Resources to use action research in nine communities in Washington and Addison Counties, Vermont, to document, develop and enhance the impacts of two models for community-based forest biomass management.

The models will be a community-supported firewood program for home heating and a multi-town effort to increase the sustainability of their local wood supply, as part of an overall goal of achieving energy independence in heating and power generation. Local sustainability indicators will be developed to assess impacts. Results will be used to develop biomass models for other communities, as well as support university-community partnerships for more effective adaptive decision-making in the Northern Forest.

Participating communities are Warren, Fayston, Waitsfield, Moretown in the Mad River Valley and Bristol, Lincoln, New Haven, Starksboro and Monkton in Addison County.

Project Team

US Forest Service through the Northeastern States Research Cooperative, and the Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Rubenstein School for Natural Resources at UVM.

For more information:
Jenn Colby, University of Vermont(802) 656-0858

Last modified October 31 2013 11:03 AM