Drax Biomass conducts regional risk assessments with extensive reviews of existing public and private datasets to identify high conservation value forests. This regional information is then augmented by county-level Natural Heritage data.
In 2017, Drax Biomass contracted with Nature Serve to package this regional- and county-level data into a format that would facilitate a rapid risk assessment for all in-woods fibre. This operational risk assessment procedure, combined with formal conservation commitments such as the Atchafalaya Basin Keeper agreement, reflect a comprehensive strategy to protect biodiversity.
Drax Biomass is looking forward to actively contributing to regional conservation enhancement efforts in 2018 and beyond.
A partnership formed with the American Forest Foundation (AFF) in 2017 is paving the way. The AFF is a publicly supported not-for-profit organization established to conduct charitable, educational, research and scientific programmes aimed at the responsible use and conservation of renewable resources. Our partnership with the AFF is aimed at improving habitat for at-risk southern wildlife species through active forest management. With open-canopy pine habitat identified as a conservation need, the market that Drax Biomass provides for small-diameter forest thinning material can directly benefit the regional biodiversity.
In addition to efforts around our own facilities, Drax Biomass employees have been contributing to a collaborative effort run by the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP) to provide better information on how to assess whether or not there are forests with high conservation values in a catchment, and what to do about them. SBP expects to publish the guidance from this workgroup in early 2018.