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Table 12 Summary of recommendations from reviews of forest biomass harvesting guidelines (see detailed recommendations and their sources in Additional file 2: Tables ST-10 and ST-11)

From: Sustainable forest biomass: a review of current residue harvesting guidelines

Topic Suggested actions Examples
Rationale (Why?) Articulate the need for unique guidelines a. Produce environmentally and socially sustainable forest biomass feedstock for the bioeconomy
Identify benefits of management for forest biomass to forest landowners, forestry and society a. Reduced risks from damaging agents
b. Reduced costs of site preparation
c. Incentive to maintain land in forestry
d. Increase ecologically based management of forests
e. Additional income stream
f. Recover energy and decrease fossil C emissions
Identify benefits of comprehensive guidelines on public and market perception a. Build public confidence in biomass harvesting
b. Proactive and provides opportunity for voluntary action
c. Demonstrate commitment to sustainability
Anticipate changing global policy issues a. Access to international markets (importation standards, regulations)
b. Third-party, market-driven certification
c. How impacts are evaluated (e.g. life-cycle analysis)
Scope (Who, what, where?) Define breadth of guidelines a. Land ownership
b. User groups
c. Type of biomass (e.g. tree tops and branches only, stumps, purpose-grown SRIC plantations)
d. Ecosystem and cultural components to protect
Define guideline relationship to existing policy General SFM guidelines, BMPs, and regulations
Decide if voluntary or mandatory  
Ensure guideline jurisdiction is appropriate for implementing, monitoring, enforcement, updating  
Development (How?) Begin consulting with broad range of stakeholders early in guideline development Forest managers, operators, landowners, eNGOs, Indigenous peoples, public
  Consolidate information from existing SFM manuals for jurisdiction  
  Base guidelines on appropriate scientific research  
  Acknowledge uncertainties and gaps in knowledge and formulate recommendations accordingly  
  Interpret knowledge within context of local ecosystems and experience  
  Refer to guidelines from other jurisdictions, but not uncritically  
  Use peer-review process during guideline development  
  Make guidelines clear, practical and flexible, allowing for professional judgement when required  
Components Consider how to organize information For manuals, use sidebars, indices, references for ancillary information and links to regulations
  Consider different emphases, depending on user Emphasize "how" for operator vs. "where" and "why" for forest managers, planners, etc., vs. "why" for public
  Define all important terms a. Biomass-related terms, e.g. CWD
  b. Sensitive ecosystems
  c. Soil characteristics, e.g. "erodible"
  Articulate the benefits of retaining some dead wood a. Habitat
  b. Soil quality, minimizing erosion and runoff
  c. C sequestration
  d. Fuel management
  Clarify how to identify soils and/or sites sensitive to intensified biomass removal Define key characteristics, use of integrated field-based site tools, use of soil series and mapping, modelling, etc.
  Set appropriate retention levels for biomass and sites; be clear how values were determined a. Amounts
  b. Types
  c. Distribution
  Provide operational guidance in retaining biomass  
Format Paper manual vs. digital manual  
Extension, Continuing education Use in-person meetings and digital media for extension a. Field tours, workshops
b. Webinars, YouTube videos, etc., especially for specific operational issues
Updating Monitor and update through adaptive management approaches a. Systematic surveys for implementation and for effectiveness (e.g. as for BMP evaluations)
b. Small-scale operational research ("twin-plot" approach, etc.)
c. Update review of scientific literature