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Dan W. McCollum


240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526
Contact Dan W. McCollum

Current Research

  • Biochar from Biomass: A Process for Utilizing Forest Treatment & Mill Residues.
  • Social and Economic Aspects of Biomass Utilization and the National Forests.
  • Beliefs and Attitudes toward Public Land Use and Management, and Economic Development in Mineral County, Montana.
  • The Route of the Hiawatha Trail and Its Extension to St. Regis: Biking and Tourism as Components of Economic Development.
  • Ecotourism in the Kamchatka Region of Russia.

Research Interests

My research focuses broadly on economic valuation of nonmarket goods and natural resources. That includes (1) the measurement of net value or net benefits received from natural resource use (an economic efficiency perspective) and (2) measuring economic activity associated with a particular good/service/activity, and studying how benefits and economic activity accrue to groups or sectors within the economy (an economic distribution or equity perspective). More recent work has been aimed at more effectively incorporating the public and their preferences into land management planning deliberations and decisions. These lines of research are applied to national forests and the diversity of their uses.

Past Research

A hundred years of fire suppression, combined with several years of drought conditions, has led to forests that are overly dense, susceptible to disease and insect infestation, and pose an increased risk of catastrophic wildfire. Biomass removal is needed to: (1) restore and/or improve forest health; (2) reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire; (3) reduce hazards resulting from insect and disease killed trees; among other things. Biomass removal is expensive. When the dominant material harvested is small diameter, so high value saw logs are scarce, and markets for wood products are down, it is not profitable for contractors to bid on many timber sales and forest treatment projects. Coupled with that is the disposal problem associated with residual material from biomass removal. It is costly to haul away, and burning in place presents problems. Anything that results in value-added products from biomass, and especially from residual materials, enhances the feasibility of biomass removal and treatment projects. Utilization of biomass also offers potential benefits for rural economic development. In order to use biomass to achieve these benefits, we must learn about the range of uses and products that can come from woody biomass and how they might enter into society's broad market.

Why This Research is Important

  • An edited volume, 'Valuing Wildlife Resources in Alaska', bringing together perspectives and methods of economic analysis that provide natural resource managers and planners with the information they need to make management and policy decisions.
  • A series of studies on wildlife use and its contribution to Alaska and the Alaskan economy. The studies include net economic values and contributions to economic activity of resident and nonresident wildlife users in consumptive and non-consumptive activities.
  • An Integrated Social, Economic, and Ecologic Conceptual (ISEEC) Framework for Considering Rangeland Sustainability.
  • 'Economic Analysis in Support of National Forest Planning' involved a region-wide survey in the Southwest Region (Region 3: Arizona, New Mexico, and bits of Oklahoma and Texas) related to people's attitudes, preferences, and objectives related to national forests and their use and management.
  • A Survey of Colorado Anglers and Their Willingness to Pay Increased License Fees.
  • The Net Economic Value of Recreation on the National Forests: Twelve Types of Primary Activity Trips Across Nine Forest Service Regions.


  • Illinois Institute of Technology; University of Illinois-Chicago, B.S., Economics and Biology, 1976
  • University of Wisconsin, M.S., Economics, 1981
  • University of Wisconsin, Ph.D., Economics, 1986
  • Featured Publications


    Kuentzel, Walter F.; Heberlein, Thomas A.; McCollum, Dan W., 2020. Why do normative encounter standards change? The social evolution of recreational crowding
    McCollum, Dan W.; Tanaka, John A.; Morgan, Jack A.; Mitchell, John; Fox, William E.; Maczko, Kristie A.; Hidinger, Lori; Duke, Clifford S.; Kreuter, Urs P., 2017. Climate change effects on rangelands and rangeland management: Affirming the need for monitoring
    Miller, Sue; Essen, Maureen; Anderson, Nathaniel (Nate); Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; McCollum, Dan W.; Bergman, Rick; Elder, Tom, 2015. Science You Can Use (SYCU) - Burgeoning biomass: Creating efficient and sustainable forest biomass supply chains in the Rockies, Part II
    Prera, Alejandro J.; Grimsrud, Kristine M.; Thacher, Jennifer A.; McCollum, Dan W.; Berrens, Robert P., 2014. Using canonical correlation analysis to identify environmental attitude groups: Considerations for national forest planning in the southwestern U.S
    Anderson, Nathaniel (Nate); Jones, J. Greg; Page-Dumroese, Deborah S.; McCollum, Dan W.; Baker, Stephen P.; Loeffler, Daniel; Chung, Woodam, 2013. A comparison of producer gas, biochar, and activated carbon from two distributed scale thermochemical conversion systems used to process forest biomass
    Kreuter, Urs P.; Fox, William E.; Tanaka, John A.; Maczko, Kristie A.; McCollum, Dan W.; Mitchell, John; Duke, Clifford S.; Hidinger, Lori, 2012. Framework for comparing ecosystem impacts of developing unconventional energy resources on western US rangelands
    Maczko, Kristie; Tanaka, John A.; Breckenridge, Robert; Hidinger, Lori; Heintz, H. Theodore; Fox, William E.; Kreuter, Urs P.; Duke, Clifford S.; Mitchell, John; McCollum, Dan W., 2011. Rangeland ecosystem goods and services: Values and evaluation of opportunities for ranchers and land managers
    McCollum, Dan W.; Swanson, Louis E.; Tanaka, John A.; Brunson, Mark W.; Harp, Aaron J.; Torell, L. Allen; Heintz, H. Theodore Jr., 2010. Criterion IV: Social and economic indicators of rangeland sustainability (Chapter 5)
    Fox, William E.; McCollum, Dan W.; Mitchell, John; Swanson, Louis E.; Kreuter, Urs P.; Tanaka, John A.; Evans, Gary R.; Theodore Heintz, H.; Breckenridge, Robert P.; Geissler, Paul H., 2009. An Integrated Social, Economic, and Ecologic Conceptual (ISEEC) framework for considering rangeland sustainability
    Schematic of converting beetle-killed trees to biochar.
    Forests in the West are overgrown and vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires and attacks by insects and disease. Drought and conditions associated with climate change exacerbate the problem and further contribute to deteriorating forest health. The use of woody biomass to produce value-added products, especially from residual materials of biomass removal and wood processing, enhances the feasibility of biomass removal and thus forest treatment projects. An important outcome of biochar research is the dialogue it has fostered among researchers, industry, and communities.
    Forest biomass is a promising feedstock (raw material to supply or fuel a machine or industrial process) for the production of bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts because it is renewable and widely available as a byproduct of forest management. However, there are many obstacles have that have prevented more widespread use of forest biomass. This project was set in place to quantify and evaluate these obstacles so that land managers can overcome them.