Soils, Forests, and Biomass Policy

GDAE researchers Gillian Davies (lead author) and William Moomaw have joined with other scientists to prepare a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Wetlands. Read more about the Declaration, along with an opportunity to provide a personal or organizational endorsement.

GDAE Co-Director William Moomaw has authored two letters commenting on European climate policy. In a July 2021 response to the European Commission he calls for an effective European-wide policy on forests for biodiversity and climate reasons, and refutes several unsupported claims about forest harvesting, bioenergy and greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In a February 2021 letter he organized a scientific response to the UK’s bioenergy policies, focusing on the implications for biodiversity and climate.

William Moomaw is quoted in a July 9, 2021 CNN report: How the American South is paying the price for Europe’s ‘green’ energy (

Older Eastern White Pine Trees and Stands Accumulate Carbon for Many Decades and Maximize Cumulative Carbon. Robert T. Leverett, Susan A. Masino and William R Moomaw. Frontiers for Global Change, May 2021.

Keeping trees in the ground where they are already growing is an effective low-tech way to slow climate change, Beverly Law and William Moomaw, The Conversation, February 2021.

The Climate Emergency: Forests, and Transformative Change William J. Ripple, Christopher Wolf, Thomas M. Newsome, Phoebe Barnard, William R. Moomaw, Barbara Maas, Beverly E. Law BioScience, June 2020.

Understanding the importance of primary tropical forest protection as a mitigation strategy Brendan Mackey, Cyril F. Kormos, Heather Keith, William R. Moomaw, Richard A. Houghton, Russell A. Mittermeier, David Hole & Sonia Hugh Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change, March 2020.

Towards a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Wetlands, G. T. Davies, C. M. Finlayson, D. E. Pritchard, N. C. Davidson, R. C. Gardner, W. R. Moomaw, E. Okuno, and J. C. Whitacre. Marine and Freshwater Research, November 2020. (Supplementary Material)

Large Trees Dominate Carbon Storage in Forests East of the Cascade Crest in the United States Pacific Northwest, David J. Mildrexler, Logan T. Berner, Beverly E. Law, Richard A. Birdsey, William R. Moomaw. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, November 2020.

Why Keeping Mature Forests Intact Is Key to the Climate Fight, William Moomaw interviewed by Yale Environment 360, October 15, 2019.

Meeting GHG reduction targets requires accounting for all forest sector emissions, William R Moomaw, Tara W Hudiburg, Beverly E Law, Mark E Harmon and Jeffrey E Stenzel, Environmental Research Letters, August 23, 2019

Intact Forests in the United States: Proforestation Mitigates Climate Change and Serves the Greatest Good, William Moomaw, Susan A Masino, and Edward K. Faison, Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, June 2019

Comments on proposed regulations from DOER. Dr. William Moomaw presented comments on proposed regulations from the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources at a hearing on Monday, May 13. DOER is proposing to allow almost any form of forest derived wood or waste incinerator to be burned to produce heat and electricity. Moomaw made the scientific case for why this is contrary to the goals of the Massachusetts Global Warming Solutions Act. 

How Wetlands Play A Crucial Role In The Environment From Flooding To Drought, Gillian Davies interviewed by Mary Kate McCoy, Wisconsin Public Radio, Sept 2018.

What the world needs now to fight climate change: More swamps, William Moomaw, Gillian Davies, and Max Finlayson, The Conversation, Sept 2018

The Second Warning to Humanity – Providing a Context for Wetland Management and Policy, William Moomaw, C. M. Finlayson, Gillian T. Davies, G. L. Chmura, Susan M. Natali, J. E. Perry, N. Roulet, and Ariana E. Sutton-Grier,  Wetlands, July 2018

Scientists Addressing the Board of the Green Climate Fund on Biomass, William Moomaw, July 2, 2018. This letter was signed by a dozen scientists to inform the Green Climate Fund that a proposed bioenergy project that would use wood from Fiji to replace coal in the Republic of Korea would create major increases in carbon dioxide emissions. The Green Climate Fund ultimately did not approve the plan. 

Are Forests a Renewable Source of Energy?, William Moomaw, BYU Radio, May 23, 2018 

Pruitt Is Wrong on Burning Forests for Energy, William Moomaw, William H. Schlesinger, Beverly Law, and John Sterman, New York Times, May 3, 2018

The EPA says burning wood to generate power is ‘carbon-neutral.’ Is that true?, William Moomaw, The Conversation, May 2018. Avaliable in French.

“The True Cost of Green Energy” on the UK program Dispatches
Dr. William Moomaw was interviewed in a UK investigative reporting documentary, “The True Cost of Green Energy”, from Dispatches, that examines the government-subsidised renewable energy industry and asks whether burning wood is really a more environmentally friendly alternative to burning coal.  The Dispatches episode was also covered by Ecologist and Daily Mail .  

Climate smart or regenerative agriculture? Defining new climate policies based on soil health, Anne-Marie Codur and Josephine Watson, GDAE Climate Policy Brief #9, April 2018

Wetlands In a Changing Climate: Science, Policy and Management, William R. Moomaw, G. L. Chmura, Gillian T. Davies, C. M. Finlayson, B. A. Middleton, Susan M. Natali, J. E. Perry, N. Roulet, Ariana E. Sutton-Grier, Wetlands, April 2018

A Critical Look at Forest Bioenergy: Exposing a high carbon “climate solution”, Jamie Fanous and William R. Moomaw, GDAE Climate Policy Brief #8, March 2018

EU Bioenergy Policies Will Increase Carbon Dioxide Concentrations, William Moomaw, GDAE Climate Policy Brief #7, February 2018

“Burning American Forests to Electrify Europe” Documentary
Dr. William Moomaw appeared in the documentary “Burning American Forests to Electrify Europe”, to address the counterproductive bioenergy policies in the United Kingdom and European Union that have driven the clear-cutting of American forests. 

Letter from Scientists to the EU Parliament, William Moomaw joined a group of 796 scientists to urge the EU Parliament to amend the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED) to keep fuel from felled trees from qualifying as a renewable energy source, January 9, 2018. Learn more at

Letter from American Scientists to Members of the EU Parliament, William Moomaw and 6 other American scientists wrote to Members of the EU Parliament to urge their support for reforms to the European Union’s bioenergy policies, January 8, 2018 

The Second Warning to Humanity and Wetlands, C Max Finlayson, William R. Moomaw, and Gillian T. Davies, Wetland Science and Practice, December 2017

EU must not burn the world’s forests for ‘renewable’ energy, Co-authored by William R. Moomaw, The Guardian, December 2017

Conserving and regenerating forests and soils to mitigate climate change, Anne-Marie Codur, Presentation at The Fletcher School, December 2017

Can U.S. and U.K. Forest Bioenergy Subsidies Have Adverse Climate Consequences? Stefan Koester and William Moomaw, EconoFact, August 2017

To curb climate change, we need to protect and expand US forests, William R Moomaw, The Conversation, May 8, 2017. Reprinted by World Economic Forum, CBS News, Salon and Huffington Post. 

Hope Below Our Feet: Soil as a Climate SolutionClimate Policy Brief #4, April 2017 This policy brief was produced in collaboration with Soil4Climate.

The Great American Stand: U.S. Forests and the Climate Emergency, William Moomaw & Danna Smith, Dogwood AllianceMarch 2017 
Executive Summary
Related piece on AlterNet by Danna Smith
Related piece on The Conversation by William Moomaw

Meeting the Paris Goals: Clean Energy, Forests, and Soils, William Moomaw, Presentation at International Society for Ecological Economics 2016, Washington, DC

Forests, Soils, Grasslands and Wetlands: Key Allies in Meeting Climate GoalsClimate Policy Brief #3, April 2016

Letter to Congress on forest biomass carbon neutrality, William Moomaw joined a group of 65 researchers to express concern over the implications of Senate Amendment 3140 to the Energy Policy Modernization Act, February 22, 2016. This story was covered by the Washington Post and The New York Times.