2017 Forestry Practices Tour & Biochar Demonstration

Location: Soldier Summit, Utah

Background: Twenty-eight participants attended the Forestry Practices Tour, where we toured a thinning operation on private land. Douglas-fir and aspen were pyrolyized in simple, low-cost kilns and made into biochar as part of the forest health improvement project.

Objectives: The objective of this forestry practices tour was to demonstrate a productive partnership between private and public entities, while showcasing the efforts of an ongoing thinning operation. In this area, aspen and Douglas-fir are densely populated - a situation that increases risks for fire, disease, and insect transmission, and generally reduces forest health. This project highlights a simple and low-cost way to tackle these problems - by using a biochar kiln to dispose of thinned biomass. This technique has positive implications for forest soil health because instead of dispensing of thinned biomass using slash and burn piles, the biomass is contained in a metal kiln protects forest soils. Following this process, the biochar is spread on the forest floor in varying depths as a part of a research study investigating responses to biochar applications.

Partners: USU Extension, State of Utah: Lone Peak Engines, Division of Natural Resources - Forestry, Intermountain Society of American Foresters