Overview of Bioenergy from Forests (BEF)

Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 11:30am

Overview of Bioenergy from Forests (BEF)

Bioenergy from Forests has proven to be a controversial issue.  Some herald it as a promising renewable energy source while others condemn it as having negative effects on communities and the environment.

During this talk we will provide a general overview of current understanding and key issues related to bioenergy from forests. This introductory talk will also serve as the first in the YFF series on this topic that will take place over the next 4 months.

Issues to be covered include life cycle overview, process map, types of conversion technologies, energy systems, GHG emissions, environmental and social impacts and key areas of contention.


Mark Ashton

Dr. Mark Ashton is the Morris K. Jesup Professor of Silviculture and Forest Ecology, and the Director of the Yale Forests. He has conducted over thirty-five years of research on the biological and physical processes governing the dynamics of natural forests and on the creation of their agroforestry analogs. His long-term research concentrates on tropical and temperate forests of the Asian and American realms. His field sites within these regions were selected specifically to allow comparison of growth, adaptation, and plasticity within and among close assemblages of species that have evolved within forest climates with differing degrees of seasonality. The results of his research have been applied to the development and testing of silvicultural techniques for restoration of degraded lands. He is the author of over 160 peer reviewed journal papers; an author of two field guides to tropical forest trees; an author of the primary silviculture textbook used throughout North America; and an editor or author to twelve other monographs and books concerning the management of forests for a variety of social values concerning agroforestry, watershed management and climate mitigation. Ashton has been recognized by fourteen university awards for his teaching and advising, the David M. Smith Award for Silvicultural Research by the Society of American Foresters, and the UNESCO Sultan Quaboos Award for tropical forest conservation. 

Gary Dunning

Gary is the Executive Director of The Forests Dialogue (TFD) and is directly responsible for the operation of TFD’s Secretariat. The Secretariat is hosted by Yale University at the School of the Environment in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. Prior to his current position, Gary ran several forestry programmes at Yale University including the Global Institute of Sustainable of Forestry and the Yale Forest Forum. He began his tenure at Yale 11 years ago as the National Coordinator for the Seventh American Forest Congress – the US’s largest and most complex stakeholder dialogue process to date. He also served as the United States Coordinator and Liaison to the World Commission on Forests and Sustainable Development and has served as a member on US delegations to UNFF and WSSD. Prior to coming to Yale Gary taught agroforestry and forest extension techniques at the Kenya Forestry College in Londiani, Kenya, and he worked briefly as a Community Forestry Research Assistant in Papua New Guinea. He holds a Masters of Forestry Degree from Yale University in International Forest Policy and a Bachelors Degree from Humboldt State University in forestry.

Reid Lifset

Mr. Lifset’s research and teaching focus on the field of industrial ecology. He is a Research Scholar, Resident Fellow in Industrial Ecology, and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Industrial Ecology, an international peer-reviewed bi-monthly headquartered at the Center for Industrial Ecology of the Yale School of the Environment and owned by Yale University. Mr. Lifset’s research focuses on the application of industrial ecology to novel problems and research areas, the evolution of extended producer responsibility (EPR), resource and material efficiency, the environmental impact of the digital economy, and the development of the circular economy. He is a member of the United Nations International Resource Panel and the governing council of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE). He is a member of the editorial board of the journal, Waste and Biomass Valorisation.

In 2015, he was awarded the Society Prize from the ISIE and has chaired the Gordon Research Conference on Industrial Ecology. He has served on the U.S. EPA’s Science Advisory Board and has advised organizations including the U.S. EPA, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Coalition of Northeast Governors, the Luce Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Anastasia O’Rourke

Anastasia O’Rourke serves as a Managing Director at the Carbon Containment Lab. She has 20 years experience in the environmental sustainability field, as a consultant, entrepreneur, and researcher in Australia, Sweden, France and the US.  Anastasia has specific subject matter expertise in standards and certification systems, cleantech venture investing, and sustainable and green purchasing. Prior to joining the CC Lab, Anastasia was a Senior Technical Consultant with Industrial Economics, where she led a sustainability consulting practice working with federal and state governments, large companies, NGOs, and International organizations on program design, management and evaluation. She co-founded Big Room Inc, developers of the .ECO top level domain and the Ecolabel Index website. She was also a founding Board member of the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership