Early Roundtables (2006–2011)

October 13–14, 2006
Hubbard Brook Mirror Lake campus
Thornton, NH

Inaugural Hubbard Brook Roundtable on forestry, ecosystem services, and energy solutions

  • Can what's often called the New Forestry heal an increasingly fragmented landscape while also sustaining the conservation and productivity of forested and aquatic ecosytems?
  • How have the ecosystem services of forested landscapes been diminished and what needs to be restored in the next 20 years?
  • Can the Northern Forest provide valuable and sustainable energy solutions as a component of the country's future energy needs?

The Hubbard Brook Roundtable, initiated in 2006 under the leadership of the Hubbard Brook Ecosystem Study’s co-founders, Dr. Gene Likens and Dr. Herb Bormann, incorporates a broad range of stakeholders and utilizes an “ecosystem approach” to identify and discuss threats to the Northern Forest region. Over the course of two days of facilitated conversations, participants agree on recommendations for specific actions that can be taken to protect these ecosystems. The first Roundtable convened distinguished leaders from ecosystem science, government service, the timber industry, citizen groups and public-interest organizations to share cutting-edge scientific information about forested ecosystems in ways useful to policy makers and land managers. Many of the people were residents of the Northern Forest and had intimate knowledge of the values important to North Country residents: natural resources and wildlife, forest products, tourism and accessible landscapes, recreational opportunities, heritage communities, and more. Others brought to the meeting a national or international perspective. Some top environmental threats discussed included acid rain, mercury pollution, invasive species and diseases, salinization of waterways, fragmentation of the landscape, and climate change. It is the Hubbard Brook Roundtable’s ambitious goal and prediction that the Northern Forest “Ecoregion” will someday serve as a hopeful model for solving natural-resource and economic problems in other parts of the country and other regions of the world.


March 7–8, 2008
Society of the Protection of New Hampshire Forests
Concord, NH

Monetizing Carbon Sequestration in the Northern Forests

  • What scientific metrics are needed (and attainable) to quantify forest carbon sequestration in the Northern Forest?
  • How could those metrics be applied to access newly emerging markets for carbon?
  • What existing and future monitoring mechanisms should underlie the process?
  • What policy initiatives are required to ensure that forests have a place in new markets for carbon and other ecosystem services?

In 2007 and 2008, the Roundtable added new members, prepared white papers and other publications, and participated in the Northern Forest Center’s Sustainable Economy Initiative (SEI), which in 2008 released the report, Economic Resurgence in the Northern Forest: Regional Strategy and Recommendations, which comprised policy recommendations to the region’s four governors and congressional delegations.


November 12–14, 2008
Balsams Grand Resort Hotel
Colebrook, NH

Protecting Ecosystem Services at a Local Scale

  • Create a blueprint for a pilot initiative that would put in place specific mechanisms for understanding, conserving, and marketing multiple and integrated sets of ecosystem services.

September 10–11, 2009
Hubbard Brook Mirror Lake campus
Thornton, NH

Establishing a Wood Energy Cooperative at a Local Scale

  • Create a blueprint for a wood energy cooperative that helps increase the efficient use of low-quality wood for fuel, while also promoting sustainable forestry practices.
  • In 2008 and 2009, the Hubbard Brook Roundtable met with the goal to create a blueprint for a thriving Wood Fuel Marketplace in the at the local scale in the Northern Forest Region, that helps increase the efficient use of low-quality wood for fuel, while also promoting sustainable forestry practices. This blueprint is intended to serve as the basis for pilot projects in several communities in New Hampshire, and hopefully as a template for other locations in the Northern Forest region and beyond. A white paper released in 2009, “Our Carbon, Our Communities,” promotes the consensus of this Roundtable.

March 2011
Green Mountain College
Poultney, VT

Poultney Woodshed Project

  • Supporting a pilot program to supply Green Mountain College with local woodchips.

On April 22, 2010—the 40th anniversary of the original Earth Day—Green Mountain College (GMC) inaugurated its new wood biomass co-generation facility in Poultney, Vermont. The facility provides 85 percent of the heat required by the college and 20 percent of its electricity, thus helping fulfill the college’s environmental mission by using renewable biomass energy instead of fossil fuels, an energy solution that reduces the campus’s carbon footprint.

In a joint project, the Hubbard Brook Research Foundation (HBRF) worked with faculty and administrators from Green Mountain College to secure a growing portion of the college’s biomass energy requirements from privately owned forestlands located relatively close to Poultney. This successful project produced carbon savings resulting from lower transportation distances for woodchips, and at the same time supported the local economy by engaging traditional stewards of the forest: landowners, foresters, loggers, chippers, and truckers. In May 2013, Green Mountain College received the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in part because of the Poultney Woodshed Project, which continues to evolve and serve as a model for other communities (landowners from Alabama and Georgia recently toured the facility and visited local woodlots that supply the college).

The Poultney Woodshed Project resulted from two Hubbard Brook Roundtables and also from information developed by HBRF’s Science Links Carbon project.


November 2011
Harvard Forest
Peterham, MA

The Science and Policy Divide: From Quandry to Innovation

  • Forming a joint venture to link ecosystem science, policy, and communications in the Northeastern United States

This two-day session established the groundwork for the formation of the Science Policy Exchange consortium.