VETAS.COM - El mundo de la madera y el mueble

The American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) announced the release of a pair of studies that it said shows federal energy policies can be designed to conserve the high-paying forest products industry jobs that are so critical to rural communities while increasing the supply of woody biomass available to help meet renewable energy production goals.

It is crucial that policymakers consider how best to utilize Americas forest resource to both support good jobs and produce more renewable energy," said Donna Harman, president and CEO of AF&PA. "These studies show that if designed carefully, national energy policies can both sustain the significant job-sustaining capacity of the forest products industry while expanding renewable energy."

The first study commissioned by AF&PA, "Jobs Creation in PPI [Pulp and Paper Industry] and Energy Alternative in the United States," was conducted by RISI, a specialist in the global forest products industry. It found that for a given volume of wood, the forest products industry sustains nine times as many jobs as stand-alone biomass energy production. AF&PA added that the RISI results are "roughly consistent" with a 2006 European study. That study found that the paper industry supported six times as many diret jobs and 13 times as many total jobs as the electric utility sector.

The second AF&PA-commissioned study, "Availability and Sustainability of Wood Resources for Energy Generation in the United States," was conducted by Forisk Consulting, a Georgia-based research firm. It found that approximately 50 million dry tons of under-utilized logging residues and urban wood residuals was readily available, and more trees could be planted, to produce more renewable energy without disrupting the biomass supply used by the forest products industry -- which supports far more jobs than stand-alone energy production.

According to AF&PA, 50 million dry tons of wood could generate 60 billion kWh of electricity a year or about 1.5% of total U.S. electricity consumption.

"Our economy and our environment will be best served if wood is used in ways that support the most jobs while increasing renewable energy use," Harman said. "We hope this research will help policymakers design programs to achieve these important goals."