Pinyon Juniper Utilization

Overstocked PJ stands are subject to multiple negetive resource consequences and susceptible to catastrophic fire that often results in unacceptable ecological conditions.  Proactive management can provide positive use of PJ fuels while reducing introduction of invasive species like cheat grass that are detrimental to the ecosystem; as well, it can greatly reduce fire suppression and restoration costs.

Restoration on a landscape level is both an environmental protection imperative and a cost-saving measure.  At the same time, opportunity exists to utilize the biomass generated from treatments for commercial purposes.  Doing so will add offset revenues back into the restoration cycle while it creates rural industries and jobs in counties whose private sector economies are affected by the dominant presence of federal lands.

The goal of the Pinyon Juniper Partnership is to apply both existing and emerging technologies as a resource tool. The challenge of this project is to determine the logistics and role that commercial utilization of Pinyon-Juniper can provide to assist resource managers in avoiding the pending catastrophe that fire and disease will bring to the PJ woodlands, as well as the significant resource drain to water, wildlife and range that decadent stands impose.  The issue of PJ utilization has been evaluated by many smaller scale projects (both currently and historically), the outcomes of which have resulted in agreement that PJ utilization can assist resource managers.  However, the pragmatic problems of merging what the best supportive role of utilization is with the landscape restoration imperatives and limitations of land management funding streams, priorities and annual budget cycles, require significant, interdisciplinary and interagency attention, industry attention to overcome current harvesting and utilization shortcomings, as well potentially, as improvement of enabling policy vehicles to provide the necessary tools. 

The Utilization Matrices were developed at the Pinyon-Juniper Partnerships July 22 Utilization Think Tank Meeting to identify the issues affecting biomass utilization.