As Colorado recovers from its worse wildfire season on record, many foresters are looking for products that could provide the financial motivation for fire mitigation products, which reduce fuels but also create massive piles of unwanted timber. It is difficult to overstate the size of the problem. Much of Colorado’s 24 million acres of woodlands are overgrown after decades of fire suppression. Climate change is also likely to leave forests warmer and drier, further increasing the risk of disastrous wildfire seasons. Enter James Gaspard and his company Biochar Now. The company owns 17 acres in Berthoud that are stacked with rejected trees from across the state. The beetle-kill branches and fire-scarred trunks wait to be fed into 100 massive kilns, which look like a fleet of rusty UFOs landing in the farmland below Longs Peak. Biochar Now, uses the contraptions to convert wood into biochar, a carbon-rich charcoal that can help soil retain water and nutrients. Gaspard said the cannabis industry has been an early and loyal customer, but he sees vast possibilities beyond agriculture. In his office, he showed off newer product ideas: cat litter, animal feed, water filters, plastic, soap — all made from wood usually treated as trash. “We’re making a market for stuff that had no market,” Gaspard said.
FEA compiles the Wood Markets News from various 3rd party sources to provide readers with the latest news impacting forest product markets. Opinions or views expressed in these articles do not necessarily represent those of FEA.
How scrap wood startups could help Colorado fight wildfires