"Coal miners and some of their machinery could be employed in the process," he notes.
In the second stage, reforestation begins. Some reclaimed land will be dedicated to short-rotation fast-growing woody crops to be harvested for biomass. Other long-standing forests will capture carbon from the atmosphere, slowing global warming.
In the third stage, the economic benefits of the biomass emerge. "Already suitable Appalachian wind sites have been discovered that can provide competitive sources of energy," Todd writes, "paired with another renewable energy source like woody biomass from willows and poplars, a viable energy system can be developed."
And this biomass can be used not just for electricity but for "refining fuels, and manufacturing a wide range of products ranging from plastics to polymers and adhesives," he says.
In the fourth stage, succession is at work not just in the land but in human communities and management of the land. Initially, philanthropic organizations would purchase damaged sites and shepherd their recovery. These restored lands would be passed along to new capitalized corporations that would develop forestry and other businesses there.
Then, following their mandates, these companies would divest the land to employees and qualified land stewards, restoring an ownership culture to impoverished communities. Finally, the process would begin again on other newly acquired lands.
And this replication process could extend far beyond Appalachia, presenting a method for increasing carbon storage in
|Contact: Joshua Brown|
University of Vermont