Why Biomass Residue Is Not as Plentiful as It Looks: Case Study on Economic Supply of Logging Residues
AAEA Past President and co-authors release new research in AEPP
At current low oil prices, bioenergy is a lower priority nationally than it was when oil was over $100/barrel. But when economic growth gets back underway and energy prices rise, this research shows how to develop an accurate forecast of the economic supply of biomass from logging and crop residues.
In new research released in the journal Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy on “Why Biomass Residue Is Not as Plentiful as It Looks: Case Study on Economic Supply of Logging Residues,” AAEA Past President, Scott Swinton and Sarah Klammer, both from Michigan State University, and Felix Dulys of Brightloom, Inc., explore the reasons why.
|Annual supply of logging residues to Escanaba, Michigan, from privately owned Commercial Forests only (dotted line), Commercial plus Non-Industrial Private Forests (dashed line), Public state/county plus all private forests (solid curve), and Technically & Sustainably Available (vertical line).|
Swinton says, “We looked at logging residues, and we found that landowners are often unwilling to allow them to be removed. That alone cuts the potential supply in half. When you account for what is technically feasible and sustainably wise, that cuts the supply in half again. Finally, the costs of processing and transportation add to the price that suppliers would require to deliver logging residues to a demand point. Bottom line, the quantity of energy biomass that is economically available from logging residues is less than a quarter of the biophysical inventory.”
“Landowner willingness to allow residue removal is the key,” said Swinton. “Commercial forest managers are very willing, non-industrial private forest owners and state forest managers less so, and national forest managers largely unwilling. Those patterns underlie the logging residue supply curves in the picture below.”
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ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 60 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices and the online open access publication series Applied Economics Teaching Resources. To learn more, visit www.aaea.org.
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