USDA has awarded nearly 10-million dollars to a consortium of academic, industry and government organizations to research the use of insect-killed trees as a sustainable bioenergy feedstock. The consortium is led by Colorado State University. Provided under the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative – the award is part of USDA’s effort to develop modern solutions for climate challenges in agriculture and natural resources management. U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack notes infestations of pine and spruce bark beetles have impacted over 42-million acres of U.S. forests since 1996. He says a changing climate threatens to expand the threat from bark beetle on our forest lands.
According to Vilsack – this innovative research will help take the biomass that results from bark beetle infestation and create clean, renewable energy that holds potential for job creation and promises a cleaner future for America. Noting the funding for this research is provided by a 2008 Farm Bill program – Vilsack reiterated the critical need for passage of a new food, farm and jobs bill that adequately invests in groundbreaking agricultural research.
Source: NAFB News Service