Wyatt Klopp chats with Sue Hemphill during his presentation.

Wyatt Klopp chats with Sue Hemphill during his presentation.

Impact of pine beetle on environment researched

Impact of pine beetle on environment research topic of presentation at Scout Island Nature Centre.

There are a couple reasons why Wyatt Klopp’s presentation on the subject of climate change at Scout Island Nature Centre on Feb. 6 was exciting to members of the Williams Lake Field Naturalists.

For one thing this University of Northern British Columbia grad student spent a couple summers working at Scout Island. Secondly he is one of the rare summer students to pursue an interest in the field of botany.

Klopp is a masters student enrolled in the Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (NRES)program at UNBC. During his presentation Klopp shared an insight into his thesis titled, The Mountain Pine Beetle, Climate Change, and the Rising Bioenergy Sector, with 20 members of the Field Naturalists Club.

Klopp hopes to have his work completed and to be in a position to defend his thesis in a year’s time.

He explained the carbon cycle and greenhouse gas emissions as it relates to the mountain pine beetle epidemic.

“The potential release of greenhouse gas emissions from the death and decay of the pine trees poses a serious threat to our efforts in mitigating climate change,” he said. “Greenhouse gas emissions are known causal agents of climate change and efforts are underway to reduce these emissions.”

While the mountain pine beetle outbreak is a naturally-occurring cyclical phenomenon, the most recent outbreak of the past dozen years or so is unprecedented in its magnitude and severity, Klopp pointed out.

His study focuses on the carbon storage potential of harvested wood products and use in the face of the mountain pine beetle epidemic, and the accelerated, non-sustainable harvest that has resulted in an attempt by government and industry to utilize the dead trees before they lose economic value.

With this decline in wood fibre value there has been a rise in the bioenergy sector, which utilizes wood biomass to generate heat and electricity. Up to now, Klopp noted, the main source of biomass for the bioenergy sector in B.C. has been a byproduct of the wood product industry in the form of wood ‘waste.’

New on the horizon are three new forest tenures created by the province that will allow the bioenergy sector to explicitly harvest biomass directly from the forest. Up to now, Klopp said, it hasn’t been considered economically feasible to directly harvest stands or salvage slash piles for bioenergy, nor a good idea to harvest standing trees, especially green, growing trees for this sector.

Bioenergy comes with the interesting assumption of carbon neutrality, that carbon emissions are offset by regrowth of trees, Klopp stated.

“I’ll argue that bioenergy emissions in B.C. may not be carbon neutral because we are taking more fibre from the forest than is growing,” Klopp said. “The assumption of carbon neutrality is based on the pretence of sustainable forestry.”

However, Klopp continues to suggest that harvesting up until this point has not been sustainable, as seen with the forthcoming mid-term timber supply gap.

The determination of carbon neutrality has many shades of gray, Klopp admitted. He concludes that the carbon benefits of bioenergy is uncertain and are not known whether they’ll play a role in mitigation or accentuating climate change.

“Bioenergy requires careful consideration,” Klopp asserted. “Each stand in the forest is very different and they can’t be treated all the same.”

One member of the audience to pose serious questions to Klopp was Mircea Rau of the UBC Research Forest. He commented afterwards that it was very interesting for a student outside the forestry field to tackle a subject so intricately tied to forestry.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sandi Griffiths is the region’s new district manager of transportation for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
New MOTI district manager takes the wheel in Williams Lake

Sandi Griffiths replaces Todd Hubner who retired recently

Mclean Silverton rides a rail in Boitanio Park - one of seven new features installed by the city this past week. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Snow park in Boitanio open for riding

If any users find that the park requires attention, please contact city hall at 250-392-2311

A snowfall warning has been issued for Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Black Press Media)
Snowfall warning issued for Cariboo region

Between 10 to 15 cm expected

Community Volunteer Income Tax Program (CVITP) co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor (from left) Judy Gibbons and Rajneesh Khugsal, seen here in 2020, are all ready to help people file their taxes. (Patrick Davies photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake volunteers ready to offer community income tax program

Co-ordinator Surinderpal Rathor said he has already received inquiries

Women’s Contact Society community liaison Eileen Alberton with her dogs Luigi, left, and Sami enjoys a daily walk in Big Lake. (Photo submitted)
Women’s wellness focus of International Women’s Day events in Williams Lake

In its third year, the event will be offered virtually

Abbotsford’s Kris Collins turned to TikTok out of boredom when the provincial COVID-19 lockdown began in March 2020. She now has over 23 million followers on the video app. Photo: Submitted
Internet famous: Abbotsford’s Kris Collins is a TikTok comedy queen

Collins has found surprise stardom alone with a phone

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A Vancouver restaurant owner was found guilty of violating B.C.’s Human Rights Code by discriminating against customers on the basis of their race. (Pixabay)
Vancouver restaurant owner ordered to pay $4,000 to customers after racist remark

Referring to patrons as ‘you Arabs’ constitutes discrimination under B.C.’s Human Rights Code, ruling deems

Nanaimo children’s author and illustrator Lindsay Ford’s latest book is ‘Science Girl.’ (Photo courtesy Lindsay Ford)
B.C. children’s writer encourages girls to pursue the sciences in new book

Lindsay Ford is holding a virtual launch for latest book, ‘Science Girl’

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Doctors and counsellors warn of an increase in panic attacks, anxiety, depression and suicide ideas between ages 10 to 14, in Campbell River. ( Black Press file photo)
Extended pandemic feeding the anxieties of B.C.’s youth

Parents not sure what to do, urged to reach out for help

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

Most Read