Restoration Infrastructure

Restoring California’s Sierra-Cascade forests to a more resilient, diverse, and fire-safe state requires that we remove significant amounts of biomass from the forest. Forest restoration efforts produce large quantities of downed small-diameter trees, brush and branches that must be removed from the forest for ecological purposes, public safety, and to reduce risk of damaging wildfire.

Currently, the majority of the biomass produced by forest restoration projects, and nearly all slash created by commercial timber operations, is piled and burned in the forest. This biomass is a large and mostly untapped resource capable of producing alternative wood products that can offset the cost of restoration projects and fuel bioenergy plants that can produce heat, power, and biofuels, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions compared to pile burning.

Recent innovations in biomass energy technology provide an opportunity for the environmentally sustainable use of excess forest biomass to create renewable baseload energy for California. Unfortunately, the lack of appropriate wood- and biomass-processing infrastructure remains a significant impediment to forest restoration efforts. Development of additional forest bioenergy power generation in California’s Sierra-Cascade region, co-located with innovative wood products campuses, would help increase the pace and scale of forest restoration activities while also creating jobs and opportunities for community economic development.

Regional Challenges, State Priorities

Forests in California's Sierra-Cascade region are unhealthy, vulnerable to damaging wildfires and an accelerating climate crisis. Local communities and economies are at risk. And it’s not just the Sierra-Cascade, California’s water security, outdoor access, biodiversity, and climate leadership all depend upon healthy, resilient forests.

Learn more about these challenges and priorities: