How might bioenergy affect how beetle kill is managed?
A limited number of beetle-killed stands are currently being harvested for timber production, to protect roads, trails, campsites, and homes from falling trees, to reduce fuel loading and guard against catastrophic wildfire, or to promote controlled forest regeneration. Much of the biomass from such activities is simply piled and burned, which adds costs, risk, and air pollution burdens to stand treatment. The deployment of wood bioenergy technologies could add value to this biomass, potentially enabling the management of wider areas and leading to modified harvest practices (for example, whole-tree harvest instead of lop-and-scatter).
BANR Research Teams Addressing this Question:
- The Harvest Logistics team (Task 2.1) is determining the most practical and cost-effective methods of producing dead woody feedstock from beetle-killed forest stands and transporting it to conversion facilities
- The Feedstock Preprocessing team (Task 2.2) is developing biomass quality and processing specifications for compatibility with the conversion technologies of our BANR industrial partners
- The Financial Analysis team (Task 3.5) is studying the costs of harvest and conversion to determine the conditions under which a beetle-kill to liquid fuel system would be economically viable
- The Decision Support System team (Task 3.7) is integrating BANR research results into a spatially-explicit web-based format easily accessible to forest landowners, bioenergy practitioners, researchers, and policymakers