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ESSAY ASSIGNMENTS Forest Products
Readings for Week Two: Forests at the World and National Scales
Tuesday, April 8Today we will read and discuss materials that will familiarize you with US and world patterns of forest and their effects on ecosystems and climate. By midnight on Monday, April 7, you should post your answers to at least one of the questions pertaining to each segment of the class. We will have a general class discussion, informed by your readings and the answers you write in your posts.
Class segment 1: World and US forests: overview
Begin by having a quick look at the FAO's Global Forest Resources Assessment 2010 and at the introduction and chapters 1-5 of the USFS Future of America's Forests and Rangelands. In many cases, to save time you can look at tables and charts, and skim the prose. Your posts and our discussion will concern the following questions:
On this topic, your posts and our discussion will center around the following questions:
Thursday, April 10Today we will devote the first two sections of class to forests as sources of energy and the final segment to forests as sources of ecosystem services.
Background: Biofuels and the world energy budget
First have a look at some statistics on world and US energy use, by dinking around on the International Energy Agency 's Key World Energy Statistics and the U.S. Energy Information Administration's Annual Energy Outlook Early Release . Pay particular attention to the sources of energy and the proportion of biomass energy, which is growing but still small. When you've finished reading and dinking, but in no event later than midnight on Wednesday, April 9, you should post a short piece (200-300 words, unless you're really inspired) on what you've learned from reading about world energy trends and how it makes you feel. We will not spend class time specifically on this topic; it is background that you need to know when you consider the role of forests in energy production.
Class segment 1: Two kinds of biomass energy
There are two basic kinds of biofuel production, if we look at it from a cross-scale ecosystem point of view.
First look at two good overviews of biofuels, and notice the difference between the two most important types of biofuels: those generated from crops grown specifically for that purpose, and those generated from residues of other kinds of operations:
Class segment 2: Forest residues as biofuels
In this unit on forest products, we are primarily concerned with the second kind of biofuels: those generated from residues. We will have an opportunity to see this kind of biofuel production both on our April 19 trip to the Yakama Nation and on our May 31 trip to the Lynden dairy farming region. To get a good idea of these and where they fit in both our energy budget and our forest ecology, read
Class segment 3: Forests and ecosystem services
Here we take time to introduce the concept of ecosystem services, by reading the two scholarly articles from a special issue of Ecological Economics volume 69 (2010):