WTIP Outdoor News Podcast

Converting Wildfire Fuel Into Biochar In Superior National Forest

Wildfires are a real and present threat nationally, but also in Minnesota’s northern dense landscape, like the Superior National Forest. There is one tree species in the forest that particularly adds to the problem – balsam fir. The young fir trees are considered ‘ladder fuel’ by the U.S. Forest Service due to the dense understory & the vulnerability to spruce budworm.

The Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota –Duluth recently partnered with the U.S Forest Service to conduct a demonstration project or concept to help mitigate wildfires in the Superior National Forest by transforming cut balsam firs into a biocarbon material called biochar.

In addition to reducing wildfire fuel in the Superior National Forest, carbon offset credits are generated when the downed balsam fir is converted into the engineered biocarbon product – biochar.

In this week’s episode podcast host Kalli Hawkins speaks with Brian Barry the chemist and project lead for the research & demonstration project at the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota – Duluth. She also speaks with Patrick Johnson, the east zone fire management officer with the U.S. Forest Service.