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how does burning wood affect the environment

Burning wood releases more CO 2 than gas, oil and even coal for the same amount of heat, so to make it climate neutral we need an increase in forests Wood burning stoves have captured the interest of many homeowners; the combination of cheap heating and a cosy focal point within the property is an appealing idea. An actively managed forest can actually be a more vibrant and attractive ecosystem than one left alone. Burning in a fireplace is a rapid form of oxidation. Trees taken down by maintenance crews and tree surgeons are used as firewood. That carbon is released into the atmosphere when we burn a log. As they grow, trees remove carbon from the atmosphere. Many people worry about the environmental effects of wood burning. The trees growing to replace the tree we burned will reclaim the carbon from the air. The VOCs react with nitrogen oxides to form ground-level ozone and with water vapor to form acid rain. As a result, there are currently an estimated 1.5 million households in the UK with a wood burning stove, with around 200,000 more stoves being sold every year. The concerns fall into a couple of categories. Because oil and gas are used to harvest the wood, the carbon footprint isn’t entirely neutral, but it’s pretty small. Wood burning is the second largest source of dioxins in the Bay Area. But done well, it can be part of an environmentally sound mix. The other concern people have is the effect on forests from harvesting wood to burn. When a forester selects the weakest appearing two to harvest for firewood, the remaining tree thrives and the forest is healthier for it. The Environmental Impact of Wood Smoke. You might think that using your fireplace or woodstove is not a big problem, but wood smoke pollution really adds up: In the winter months, burning wood accounts for more than 30% of the particle pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area. Why EPA Certified Stoves Are Not the Answer. These factors are very much under our control we can minimize the environmental effect of wood burning to a very acceptable level. Effects on the user include respiratory and eye problems. According to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, burned wood releases more particle pollution than the entire region’s vehicles and businesses. The effect of burning wood is close to neutral with regards to carbon. You might think that using your fireplace or woodstove is not a big problem, but wood smoke pollution really adds up: In the winter months, burning wood accounts for more than 30% of the particle pollution in the San Francisco Bay Area. Click here to return to the Alternative Energy Primer home page from The Environmental Effects of Wood Burning page. The picture at left from the EPA makes the point that a contemporary EPA-certified wood burning stove is not only more efficient in terms of heat produced, it also burns wood much more cleanly. But trees are a renewable resource. It’s as simple as that. Get smart with the Thesis WordPress Theme from DIYthemes. The extent of this problem depends on the species of wood and the quality of charcoal, both of which are becoming poorer. However, at Contura, we pride ourselves on efficient combustion rates. Besides, we can’t avoid the carbon being released into the atmosphere. Burning woodfuels within the household creates indoor pollution as firewood and charcoal both produce smoke on burning. Rotting on a forest floor is also oxidation, just slower. Wood smoke is air pollution. Our modern stoves are designed to produce few emissions, whilst also keeping your energy bills down. We fulfill our mandate by providing reliable information, by conducting research into wood heating-related issues and by representing the public interest in discussions of policies that affect … Wood burning stoves have the potential to produce harmful fumes and cause damage to the environment. The remaining tree will be more valuable for lumber in the future. How does Forest Harvesting Affect Nitrogen in so comparisons regarding the environmental performance of homes using wood and other building materials could be materials made from wood have been shown to present significantly lower impacts to the environment, The fact is, done poorly wood burning can have a negative environmental impact. Is Burning Wood Bad for the Environment?. Much of this would wind up in a landfill if not used as firewood. It’s as simple as that. The motivation for this isn’t altruistic. Wood smoke is air pollution. Do Wood Stove Changeout Programs Actually Work? You hear a lot about carbon footprint these days, meaning how much carbon a given activity adds or subtracts from the atmosphere. These dioxins end up in the bay, ocean, creeks, and soil, where they accumulate in fish and livestock, poisoning our food supply. Even if the tree is left to grow old, die and rot in the forest, the carbon in it will be released as it decomposes. Most people responsible for wood lots manage them for the long term. Wood Burning and Carbon Footprint. The fact is, done poorly wood burning can have a negative environmental impact. But done well, it can be part of an environmentally sound mix. The Wood Heat Organization was formed to support the public in the responsible use of wood energy in the home. Burning properly dried wood also minimizes the particulate output from a fire. Some have to do with the effects of harvesting trees to provide fuel. People with these concerns picture clear-cut forests. While it is true that some short-sighted people might clear cut a woodlot for a quick short term profit, that’s not standard practice. For example, three trees may be growing too close together for all of them to do well as mature trees. Residential wood burning also produces a laundry list of other pollutants such as mercury, carbon monoxide, greenhouse gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides. Others point out that burning wood is still burning and a source of air pollution. The pungent scent of wood burning often evokes memories of simpler, more natural pleasures such as campouts or evenings around a fireplace. Not all firewood is harvested specifically to be burned. You hear a lot about carbon footprint these days, meaning how much carbon a given activity adds or subtracts from the atmosphere. And no other way of heating your home adds as much beauty and comfort on a cold winter night as a wood burning fire. 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