PANEL: Landscape Resilience
The Pacific Northwest currently has several overlapping challenges and opportunities related to forest health, housing availability, rural economics, and decarbonization. The panel will discuss ways to promote a more integrated approach to all of these issues. Specifically, to reduce the growing incidence of catastrophic wildfires, Northwest forests need massive amounts of mechanical thinning to help offset a century of fire suppression. However, there are currently no ways to effectively pay for this work, beyond direct government subsidies. At the same time, dwindling supplies of affordable housing in our cities are contributing to a growing incidence of homelessness, while rural economies are losing their natural resource foundations, leading to depopulation as young people migrate to cities, further pressuring stretched housing supplies. Finally, our region's legacy as a renewable energy supplier due to abundant hydropower and more recent contributions from wind and solar, could potentially be enhanced by additional green fuels formed through the pelletization of forest waste streams.
Our panel will explore the economic, environmental, political, and social aspects of developing a supply chain that connects well-managed forests to the generation of sustainable, climate-friendly wood products, the construction of lower-cost urban housing, and an increase in plant-based renewable energy.