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Stewardship for Forestry Residues

Achieving net zero requires both lowering emissions and adopting negative-emissions technologies. Net zero requires innovative, integrated solutions that optimise existing technologies and approaches while rewarding innovation and sustainable business practices. Forestry and sawmilling residues that could otherwise become ‘wastes’ or pose bushfire risk are critical feedstocks to a range of integrated stewardship initiatives from traditional co-firing and bioenergy power generation to regenerative farming and negative-emissions technologies producing biochar, syngas, carbon-negative hydrogen and other products.

MS2 has applied broader stewardship principles to forestry residues in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) in the Residues Utilisation and Stewardship Strategy, the first project delivered by the North East NSW Forestry Hub.

Stakeholder engagement and information exchange build upon industry case studies to develop integrated stewardship strategies across a range of product types and sustainability aspects, including multi-sector trials to address carbon drawdown, energy balance, infrastructure planning and promoting higher order uses of forestry and sawmilling residues (a key regulatory consideration) across integrated systems and business models.

Forestry residues provide some nutrient and habitat value when left on forest floors in base amounts. In the absence of viable markets, however, excess residues either pose bushfire risk or must be addressed through hazard reduction burns. In addition to traditional uses including bioenergy, residues are critical to emerging pyrolysis and partial gasification technologies that can also utilise other problem waste streams such as biosolids, animal wastes and waste plastics.