Biological and sociological basis for a rational use of forest resources for energy and organics: an international workshop

Type Conference Paper
Title Biological and sociological basis for a rational use of forest resources for energy and organics: an international workshop
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 1979
City East Lansing
Country/State Michigan
It became apparent, soon after the workshop convened, that the

most important issue was the combustion of wood for heat. It was

recognized that forests and trees are sources of organics, such as

organic acids, aromatics, drying oils, lubricants, synthetic fibers,

cosmetics, dyes, animal feed, and solvents. These chemicals and all

other forms of forest benefits including water, habitats for endemic

plants and animals, paper, lumber, a sink for carbon, shelterbelts,

and landscape amenities, are important. However, the immediate worldwide
concern for assessiag all possible sources of energy, especially

combustible materials, resulted in the members of the workshop directing
their attention toward the use of forests and trees, defined in

the broadest sense, for fuel.

Forest benefits other than fuel were not ignored. One working

group considered the environmental consequences of using dense plantations
of trees with 3- to 10-year harvest, short harvest periods in

natural stands, genetics, fertilizer, and other cultivation practices

to exploit forests primarily for generating steam. This group considered
utilizing forests for fuel and the consequences of using forests
for fuel. An important concern was the necessity to include

biological processes in economic analyses. Another working group

examined the physical input and output considerations for directing

"naturally" regenerated forests, plantations, and agro-forests toward

producing primarily fuelwood. A third working group examined the

socio-economic consequences of and constraints for the use of land

and forests for fuelwood. The latter issue is most important because

the rational use of Zhe world's biological resources must take into

consideration different social, cultural, and economic systems.

The working groups described how the whole problem of energy

development requires investigation by teams of social scientists,

foresters, engineers, biologists, and other technologists. Because

of the many variables involved, it is important to provide interdisciplinary
training for people to effectively assess different

situations and evolve tactics for effectively and efficiently implementing

The situations in different parts of the world were reviewed in a

number of informative papers that circulated to all participants before

and during the workshops. In three working groups ideas, concepts,

data, and proposals were interrelated to produce specific recommendations.
These recommendations are described in three group reports.

Not all recommendations apply to all social, cultural, economic, and

biological situations. Thus, five specific actions are suggested for

the purpose of aiding decisionmakers in assessing and implementing the

recommendations; in developing international and interdisciplinary

cooperative efforts by countries, international development agencies,

development banks and components of the MAB organization; and for countries
to develop institutional arrangements to help groups use their

cultural, economic, and biological resources to more effectively assess

the use of wood for fuels.

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