Woody Biofuels in the State of New Hampshire: Analyzing the Social and Environmental Impacts of Forest-Based Bioenergy in NH

PI:  Professor David Lutz, Environmental Studies

Project Abstract

Woody biomass is increasingly being viewed as a sustainable energy solution that can address volatility in New England’s energy market while also providing jobs and economic benefits to rural areas. However, in transitioning to a reliance on forest-based woody biomass power, regions often experience ecological and social consequences that impact their residents in a variety of ways and the potential consequences for New Hampshire are not well understood. This interdisciplinary project brings together Dartmouth researchers at a variety of career stages to investigate and analyze the degree to which an increase in reliance on woody biomass power may effect our region. The main goals of this project are to measure New Hampshire residents’ preferences, attitudes, and barriers to utilizing forest-products-based biofuels, to map woody biomass supply chains in the state, and to analyze changes in forest cover related to large-scale woody biomass extraction and production. Additional goals of this project are to facilitate student research and provide mentorship and training to Dartmouth undergraduate students in a variety of social science and computational analytical techniques as well as to construct linkages between the Irving Institute and community partners and stakeholders in the regional bioenergy sector to facilitate future research.