By James C. Coomer (Eds.)
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Had the more optimistic 3 percent conversion figure been used in this computation, the result would have exceeded the U . S . energy consumption by 8 times. This example is given to draw attention to the fact that biomass energy has a great, unused potential for serving man, not to advocate turning over our forestland to supply the insatiable energy demand in the United States. The intent is not only to demonstrate the potential of biomass but to also encourage thought and research into the impacts that this resource will have on the economic, social, and policymaking elements in our civilization.
In fact, from this example one would predict that a market for biomass fuel will immediately cause a doubling of the cost of all wood related products. Although this inflation will affect all, it will have a good effect in the long run because the price of both fuel and wood products will eventually be governed by a renewable resource - biomass. The impact of this jump in wood products prices will eventually reach all forms of biomass production (foods and fibers) as land use adjustments occur in response to the new values of biomass-based products.
W. Gallepp, S. M. Bartell, J. F. Koonce, and B. S. Ausmus, "Consumer Regulation of Nutrient Cycling," Bio-Science 29 (1979):28-34. A classic demonstration has been provided by F. H. Bormann and his collaborators through the experimental manipulation of the Hubbard Brook Forest ecosystem (see Borman and Likens, Pattern and Process for a summary). See, e . g . , D. Goodman, "Theory of Diversity-Stability Relationships in Ecology," Quarterly Review of Biology 50(1975) :237-66; G. W. Harrison, "Stability Under Environmental S t r e s s : Resistance, Resilience, Persistence, and Variability," American Naturalist 113: (1979) :659-69.