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TREES Summit

Toward Renewable Energy and Ecosystem Services

April 25, 2017 | Brightwater Center, Woodinville, WA

Left: Attendees at TREES listening to a speaker give his presentation. The Summit was held at the Brightwater Center in Woodinville, WA. Right: After the meeting attendees toured a poplar planting at the former Duvall Landfill.

The TREES Summit: Toward Renewable Energy and Ecosystem Services explained how poplar plantings could be an innovative and important strategy for tackling critical environmental challenges in the Pacific Northwest. During workshop discussions, attendees shared experiences, ideas, and concerns and networked with stakeholders from a variety of disciplines and organizations. The meeting was followed by a tour of a poplar planting at the former Duvall landfill.

View the TREES program or read about the event in our newsletter.


Title:Polluted waters and strategic responses: ecosystem health and salmon survival
Speaker: Jessica Lundin, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Ecotoxicology Program
Description: Despite billions of dollars put toward restoration of freshwater streams, salmon continue to struggle in the PNW. Water quality issues are a critical concern in urban creeks. However, success stories include the effectiveness of bioinfiltration, vegetative buffers, and cross-agency collaborations.

Title: Transportation and trees: the need for sustainable aviation biofuels
Speaker: Michael Lakeman, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, Environmental Strategy
Description: The commercial aviation industry is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, and biofuels are a major component of the strategy. These biofuels must be scalable, affordable, sustainable, and compatible with existing infrastructure.

Title: Poplar and willow as a pollutant treatment tool
Speaker: Lou Licht, President & Founder of Ecolotree, Inc.
Description: Ecolotree, Inc. tests and implements engineered pollution control strategies using poplar trees. This presentation covers the benefits of removing contaminants with plants (i.e. phytoremediation) and shares experiences from a variety of applications.

Title: AHB: Poplar for renewable energy and products
Speaker: Rick Gustafson, University of Washington, AHB Principal Investigator
Description: AHB’s vision is a sustainable system that uses poplar farms to provide environmental services and to supply a robust bioeconomy with biomass to make biofuels and bioproducts. Economics and scale are substantial challenges, but monetizing ecosystem services may provide a way forward.

Title: Toward renewable energy and ecosystem services: A roadmap for the PNW
Speaker: Patricia Townsend, Washington State University Extension
Description: AHB is working with poplar growers that are using the trees to provide ecosystem services. A series of meetings and a collection of case studies has led to a guide identifying benefits, barriers, and solutions to using poplar/willow biomass for environmental applications and bioenergy markets.

Title: Hybrid poplar as a wastewater management tool
Speaker: Todd Miller, City of Springfield, Oregon
Description: The Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission (MWMC) oversees the Eugene-Springfield wastewater treatment program, which is irrigating and applying biosolids to poplars as part of a 400 acre “Biocycle Farm.” In addition to processing wastewater products, the trees reduce the wastewater’s thermal load, create shade, and supply poplar to various markets making products such as paper, veneer, and electricity.

Title: Improving on-farm ecosystem services with poplar buffers
Speaker: Julien Fortier, Eastern Townships Research Trust
Description: Case studies in Québec, Canada demonstrate the benefits of poplar riparian buffers, in contrast to herbaceous or no buffers. Poplars provide wood/biomass, nutrient capture, microclimates, biodiversity corridors, and stream stabilization.

Title: Monetizing poplar ecosystem services: Advancing the Pacific Northwest feedstock production industry
Speaker: Brian Stanton, Greenwood Resources, Inc.
Description: A case study from the Mississippi Alluvial Valley provides an example of poplar trees generating carbon credits and enabling hardwood afforestation. In the Pacific Northwest, a cooperative of moderate and small poplar plantations could improve access to ecosystem markets. The next step would be to conduct a feasibility study and develop a business plan.

Afternoon Workshops

Review the workshop notes.

TREES: Toward Renewable Energy and Ecosystem Services