The Truth About the Biomass Industry: How Wood Pellet Exports Pollute Our Climate and Damage Our Forests

Fact Sheet
September 03, 2014

Wood pellet exports from the United States nearly doubled last year, from 1.6 million tons in 2012 to 3.2 million tons in 2013, and are expected to jump to 5.7 million tons in 2015. The vast majority of these exports —99 percent—originated from ports in the southeastern and lower Mid-Atlantic regions of the country. More than 98 percent went to Europe, where they were destined for use in foreign power plants to help meet European renewable energy targets. This massive additional demand for logs now risks destroying ecosystems that can never be replaced. Increased use of wood from natural forests by wood pellet manufacturers like Enviva and other biomass companies will lead to additional fragmentation of a landscape that is clearly already highly fragmented, decreasing landscape integrity, water quality and flood storage, wildlife corridors and habitats, and recreational resources. Greater use of plantation pine will incentivize future conversion of the few remaining natural and semi-natural forests to intensive plantations, which bear little resemblance to natural forests in terms of the biological diversity and wildlife habitat they support.