Private businesses purchase roughly 610 million board feet of timber harvested from DNR-managed state trust lands each year. An emerging by-product of these timber harvests is forest biomass, which includes the limbs and small pieces of wood left on a site after its timber is harvested. DNR conducts public auctions periodically to sell the rights to harvest this forest biomass from specific sites.
As Washington’s forests face the challenges of a changing climate, the risk of forest fires and the prevalence of forest pests and diseases increase. These risks are magnified because forest management and fire suppression practices of the past have drastically altered historic fire patterns and forest growth, allowing large volumes of standing and down wood to build up in our forests. The over-abundance of these fuels in many Washington forests heightens wildfire risks and poses a significant threat to forest health. Supporting the growth of Washington's forest biomass-to-energy industry will create markets for these fuels and help to reduce the fuel load in our forests while creating jobs and contributing to Washington’s clean energy economy.
Forest biomass marketed by DNR does not include wood from old growth forests, wood that is protected as habitat under the commitments of DNR’s 1997 Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan, or any required to be left onsite under the state Forest Practices rules. Biomass also does not include any wood treated with creosote, pentachlorophenol, copper-chrome-arsenic or other chemical preservatives.