The Impacts of the Woody ...

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Category: Ecological Research

Title: The Impacts of the Woody Biomass Utilization Program in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Arizona. Ecosystem Workforce Program Working Paper Number 46.

Author: Davis, E.J., Lucas, A.M., Kim, Y.S., Moseley, C., Nielsen-Pincus, M., Bilek, T.

Subject: Biomass, Ecosystem Workforce Program

Abstract: From 2005–10, the USDA Forest Service’s Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program provided grants for equipment acquisition and technical assistance to rural businesses and other entities. These grants were intended to encourage enterprise development, address market barriers to biomass utilization (ranging from small-diameter sawtimber to chips and logging residues), and decrease forest restoration costs by adding value to biomass products. At the request of the USDA Forest Service – State and Private Forestry’s Forest Products Technology Marketing Unit at the Forest Products Laboratory, we evaluated the impacts of this program in eastern Oregon and eastern Arizona (see Table 1, page 2). These areas both have extensive public lands, high wildfire risk, and limited biomass businesses. We analyzed the program’s effects on enterprise and industry capacity, state economies, and acres treated and green tons removed. We found that this relatively small ($5 million authorized nationwide annually) program’s most clear accomplishments were its significant contributions to regional biomass processing capacity, which occurred despite challenging market and economic conditions. Outcomes such as increased acres treated and reduced costs were less discernible, and there was no concurrent investment in agency capacity to implement biomass removal projects. Given the complexities of public land management and associated business development, strategies such as the Woody Biomass Utilization Grant program are critical to increasing biomass utilization, but are likely to achieve greater outcomes when incorporated with other tools to improve federal agency and stakeholder capacity, active land management, and long-term industry sustainability.

Date: 2014

Type: Working Papers

Source: University of Oregon

Identifier: 38p.

Publisher: Oregon: Institute for a Sustainable Environment, University of Oregon

Format: PDF

Language: English