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Woody biomass supply from thinnings to reduce fire hazard in the U.S. West and its potential impact on regional wood markets

Author(s):

Andi Kramp
R. James Barbour

Year:

2008

Publication type:

Miscellaneous Publication

Primary Station(s):

Forest Products Laboratory

Source:

Woody biomass utilization : challenges and opportunities : June 26, 2006 : technical session proceedings. Madison, WI : Forest Products Society, c2008. Publication ; no. 7223: Pages 3-14.

Description

Part I of this paper identifies timberland areas in 12 western states where thinning treatments are judged to be needed to reduce fire hazard and may ?pay for themselves?? at a scale to make investment in forest product processing a realistic option. We also estimate amounts of biomass removed and costs of removal. Part II of this paper estimates the market impact if biomass is supplied from treatments on federal land. In Part I, a web-based tool -Fuel Treatment Evaluator 3.0 -was used to select high fire hazard timberland plots from the Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis Program database and provide results of simulated thinning treatments. Areas were identified where either torching or crowning is likely during wildfires when wind speeds are below 25 mph. After additional screening, 24 million acres were deemed eligible for treatment (14 million acres on federal lands). Uneven-aged and even-aged silvicultural treatments analyzed would treat 7.2 to 18.0 million of the 24 million acres, including 0.8 to 1.2 million acres of wildland-urban interface area, and provide 169 to 640 million oven dry tons of woody biomass. About 55 percent of biomass would be from the main stem of trees greater than or equal to 7 in. diameter at breast height. Sixty to seventy percent of the area to be treated is in California, Idaho, and Montana. Part II of this paper uses volumes and harvest costs from two treatments on the 14 million acres of eligible federal lands as inputs to the Fuel Treatment Market model for the U.S. West to determine market impacts. Results indicate markets would use more material from uneven-aged thinnings than from even-aged thinnings and reductions in conventional harvest and timber prices would be greater for a program of uneven-aged thinnings. Economic welfare, as computed by wood products producer gains minus timber seller losses, would increase under uneven-aged thinning but decline under even-aged thinning.

Citation

Skog, Kenneth E.; Ince, Peter J.; Spelter, Henry; Kramp, Andi; Barbour, R. James. 2008. Woody biomass supply from thinnings to reduce fire hazard in the U.S. West and its potential impact on regional wood markets. Woody biomass utilization : challenges and opportunities : June 26, 2006 : technical session proceedings. Madison, WI : Forest Products Society, c2008. Publication ; no. 7223: Pages 3-14.

Publication Notes

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/treesearch/pubs/31616