Learning from Mistakes in the Media to Improve the Communication of Wood Bioenergy Research

Brooks C. Mendell


Successful applied research into wood bioenergy requires communication of meaningful insights to inform decision-makers and the general public. Effective communication strategies make such insights accessible. However, recent media reports often exhibit a near total absence of findings from peer-reviewed or quantitative research, highlighting a failure to communicate between applied researchers and reporters. As a result, the general public’s understanding of wood-based bioenergy remains incomplete. At a minimum, researchers can address three common lapses when communicating results of their research related to wood-based energy to increase the public’s access to technical results. First, provide context to give policymakers a sense, on a relative basis, of the importance of a given issue. Second, properly distinguish between “causal” relationships and mere happenstance or correlations. And finally, confirm facts and conclusions. Faulty assertions can cast doubts on the broader work and body of research.


Technical communications; Wood bioenergy; Pellets

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126