The Policy Context for Bioenergy

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - 11:30am

The Policy Context for Bioenergy

A comprehensive discussion of relevant policies for forest bioenergy must include the entire life cycle of the material, including land use and feedstock production (i.e., harvesting woody biomass) as well as energy production. The use of the residuals of wood product manufacturing has a long history as a sustainable thermal bioenergy source, but new bioenergy processes (e.g., the use of wood pellets) have emerged.  To achieve deep decarbonization, providing alternatives to fossil fuel use as well as promoting carbon sequestration will be necessary. The net benefit of forest bioenergy as an alternative to fossil fuel use has generated controversy, not least of which is how the carbon flows through the life cycle.  Policy vehicles that address land use issues, carbon accounting, Federal vs state-based oversight and the positioning of forest bioenergy as a renewable fuel will be explored. 

Dr. Ann M. Bartuska - Senior Advisor, Resources for the Future

Dr. Ann M. Bartuska is a Senior Advisor at Resources for the Future, an environmental economics think tank in Washington, DC, where she focuses on sustainable forest management and natural climate solutions. She also is a Senior Contributing Scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund focusing on natural climate solutions through forestry and agriculture. Prior to RFF, Dr. Bartuska served as Deputy Under Secretary for Research, Education and Economics (REE) within the U. S. Department of Agriculture from 2010 to September, 2017. She also held the position of Acting Under Secretary for REE and Acting Chief Scientist for USDA from December, 2016 till her departure from USDA. Prior to that, she was Deputy Chief for Research and Development (R&D), U.S. Forest Service (FS), which she held from 2004 to 2010. 

Dr. Bartuska has extensive experience in natural resources, spending her career operating at the interface of science and policy. She has held positions at North Carolina State University and with The Nature Conservancy as Executive Director of their Invasive Species Initiative. She has held numerous positions with the U.S. Forest Service, including the first Director of the Ecosystem Management office, and Director of Forest and Range Management, where she was responsible for both the timber and grazing programs of the National Forest System. She is proud of the fact that she has worked on both public and private land issues. 

She was elected President of the Ecological Society of America (2003) and has served on the Board of the Council of Science Society Presidents; Dr. Bartuska also is a member of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science).  She was on the Nicholas School for the Environment, Duke University, Board of Visitors and twice served on the LTER (Long-Term Ecological Research) Advisory Board of the National Science Foundation.   Dr. Bartuska also served on the inaugural Multi-Disciplinary Expert Panel (MEP) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), chartered by UNEP and co-chaired the Science and Technology Roundtable for Sustainability of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS).  While Deputy Under Secretary, she served as Vice-Chair of the Civil Applications Committee (CAC), coordinating Federal civilian applications of satellite-obtained imagery with the intelligence community. She is currently a member of NAS’s standing committee on Science Communication and on the Board of Environmental Science and Toxicology (BEST) and the Standing Committee on Science Communications.  She was recently (2021) named to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) External Review Panel.

She is an ecosystem ecologist with degrees from Wilkes College (B.S.), Ohio University (M.S.) and West Virginia University (Ph.D.).  Her research focused on ecosystem processes in landscapes disturbed by coal mining.