Biomass, Bioenergy, and Climate
The idea of offsetting the cost of wildfire fuel reduction treatments by selling the biomass removed is appealing. Biomass utilization also offers hopes of restoring forests to a healthy ecological state, providing critical employment and economics benefits to rural communities, and is increasingly seen as a viable option for greenhouse gas mitigation strategies and renewable energy generation. But for all the possibilities, uncertainty exists regarding the factors necessary to stimulate utilization. How much biomass is available? Are landowners willing to participate in new energy markets? What is the role of federal, state, and local initiatives in stimulating utilization?
Recent Presentations and Initiatives
- FPS 2009 (BioSS Policy Implications) (.pdf)
- Great Lakes Biomass Policy Forum hosted by University of Minnesota, Pinchot Institute for Conservation, and the Heinz Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment
- Forest Guild partnership for biomass research
For recent results, see:
- Becker, D.R., D. Abbas, K.E. Halvorsen, P.J. Jakes, S.M. McCaffrey, and C. Moseley. 2011. Conventional wisdoms of biomass utilization: findings from federal case studies. In Woody Biomass Utilization: Proceedings of the International Conference on Woody Biomass Utilization, Starkville, MS. August 4-5, 2009, ed. John R. Shelly, 83-91. Madison, WI: Forest Products Society. ISBN-13:978-1-892529-60-2.
- Becker, D.R., D. Abbas, K.E. Halvorsen, P.J. Jakes, S.M. McCaffrey, and C. Moseley. 2009. Conventional wisdoms of woody biomass utilization (.pdf). Final report to the Joint Fire Science Program.
- Becker, D.R., D. Erylimaz, J. J. Klapperich, and M.A. Kilgore. 2013. Social availability of residual woody biomass from nonindustrialprivate woodland owners in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Biomass and Bioenergy 56:82-91. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biombioe.2013.04.031
- Becker, D.R., J.J. Klapperich, G.M. Domke, M.A. Kilgore, A.W. D'Amato, D.A. Current, and A.R. Ek. 2010. 2010 Outlook for forest biomass availability in Minnesota: Physical, environmental, economic, and social availability (.pdf). Staff Paper Series no. 211. St. Paul, MN: Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.
- Becker, D.R., D. Larson, and E.C. Lowell. 2009. Financial considerations of policy options to enhance biomass utilization for reducing wildfire hazards (.pdf). Forest Policy and Economics 11(8):628-635.
- Becker, D.R., D. Larson, E. Lowell, and R. Rummer. 2008. User guide HCR Estimator 2.0: software to calculate cost and revenue thresholds for harvesting small-diameter ponderosa pine (.pdf). Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-748. Portland, OR: USDA, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station.
- Becker, D.R., S. McCaffrey, D. Abbas, K.E. Halvorsen, P. Jakes, and C. Moseley. 2011. The conventional wisdoms of woody biomass utilization on federal public lands. Journal of Forestry 109(4):208-218
- Becker, D.R., C. Moseley, and C. Lee. 2011. A supply chain analysis framework for assessing state-level forest biomass utilization policies in the United States. Biomass and Bioenergy 35:1429-1439.
- Becker, D.R., M. Nechodom, A. Barnett, T. Mason, E. Lowell, D. Graham, and J. Shelly. 2009. Assessing the role of federal community assistance programs to develop biomass utilization capacity in the western United States (.pdf). Forest Policy and Economics 11(2):141-148.
- Becker, D.R., K. Skog, A. Hellman, K.E. Halvorsen, and T. Mace. 2009. An outlook for sustainable forest bioenergy production in the Lake States (.pdf). Energy Policy 37(12):5687-5693.
- Becker, D.R., S.Taff, A. Smale, D. Wilson, J. Klapperich, C. Hartley, K. Fernholz, S. Bratkovich, J. Bowyer, G. Atwood, and C. Miller. 2011. Forest biomass heating and electricity in Cook County, MN: Phase I report. Produced by Dovetail Partners for Cook County, MN Board of County Commissioners. [Internet] Available from: http://www.co.cook.mn.us
- Brown, R.N., M.A. Kilgore, and A.R. Ek. 2007. An assessment of dead wood standards and practices in Minnesota (.pdf). Staff Paper Series no. 189. St. Paul, MN: Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.
- Dirkswager, A.L., M.A. Kilgore, D.R. Becker, C. Blinn, and A. Ek., 2011. Logging business practices and perspectives on harvesting forest residues for energy: A Minnesota case study. Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 28(1):41-46.
- Halvorsen, K.E., T.A. Selfa, D.R. Becker, and C. Hinrichs, eds. 2011. Socioeconomic dimensions of U.S. bioenergy. Biomass and Bioenergy (Special Issue) 35(4).
- Hjerpe, E., J. Abrams, and D.R. Becker. 2009. Socioeconomic barriers and the role of biomass utilization in southwestern ponderosa pine restoration (.pdf). Restoration Ecology 27(2):169-177.
- Kelkar, V., B. Geils, D.R. Becker, S. Overby, and D. Neary. 2006. How to recover more value from small pine trees: essential oils and resins (.pdf). Biomass and Bioenergy 30:316-320.
- Lowell, E.C, D.R. Becker, and D. Larson. 2011. Influence of policy incentives on biomass utilization. In Woody Biomass Utilization: Proceedings of the International Conference on Woody Biomass Utilization, Starkville, MS. August 4-5, 2009, ed. John R. Shelly, 74-82. Madison, WI: Forest Products Society. ISBN-13:978-1-892529-60-2.
- Lowell, E.C., D.R. Becker, D. Larson, R. Rummer, and L. Wadleigh. 2008. An integrated approach to evaluating the economic costs of wildfire hazard reduction through wood utilization opportunities in the southwestern U.S. (.pdf). Forest Science 54(3):273-283.
- Nechodom, M., D.R. Becker, and R. Haynes. 2008. Evolving interdependencies of community and forest health. In Forest and Community Connections, eds., E. Donoghue and V. Sturtevant, 91-108. Washington, D.C.: Resources for the Future.
- Robertson, A.L., M.A. Kilgore, and A.R. Ek. 2009. Tools to minimize the impacts of energy wood harvesting on the environment and soil productivity in Minnesota (.pdf). Staff Paper Series no. 200. St. Paul, MN: Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.
Systems Analyses of Policy Instruments
Policy instruments, which are the tools used by governmental authorities to achieve certain outcomes, are critical to natural resource management. However, the appropriate mix of instruments ranging from regulations to tax credits and technical assistance programs are difficult to create. Uncertainty exists regarding the optimal mix of policies to achieve sustainable outcomes and the synergies created and unintended consequences of their interaction. This research takes a systems approach to policy evaluation in which theoretical aspects of policy design and implementation are investigated in the context of forest planning, bioenergy development, ecosystem services, and carbon markets.
For recent results, see:
- SAF 2009 (Supply Chain Analysis) (.pdf)
- Becker, D.R., and C. Lee. 2008. State woody biomass utilization policies (.pdf). Staff Paper Series no. 199. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources.
- Becker, D.R., C. Moseley, and C. Lee. 2011. A supply chain analysis framework for assessing state-level forest biomass utilization policies in the United States (.pdf). Biomass and Bioenergy 35:1429-1439.
Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas mitigation is increasingly an important topic for forest policy. This research examines the impact of different carbon mitigation policy strategies including forestation, bioenergy development, and forest land management activities.
Recent Presentations and Initiatives
- Assessing Forestation Opportunities for Carbon Sequestration in Minnesota (.pdf)
- EESI Congressional Hearing
For recent results, see:
- Domke, G.M., D.R. Becker, A.W. D'Amato, A.R. Ek, and C.W. Woodall. 2012. Carbon emissions associated with the procurement and utilization of forest harvest residues for energy, northern Minnesota, USA. (.pdf) Biomass & Bioenergy 36(1):141-150. doi.10.1016/j.biombioe.2011.10.035
- Domke, G.M., A.R. Ek, D.R. Becker, J.F. Espeleta, A.W. D'Amato, P.B. Reich, S. Suh, M.A. Kilgore, D.A. Current, H.M. Hoganson, T.E. Burk, and C.R. Blinn. 2008. Assessment of carbon flows associated with forest management and biomass procurement for the Laskin Biomass Facility (.pdf). Staff Paper Series no. 198. St. Paul, MN: University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources.
- Miller, K.A., M.A. Kilgore, and S.A. Snyder. 2012. An assessment of Lake States landowner interest in selling forest carbon credits. Staff Paper Series no. 217. St. Paul, MN: Department of Forest Resources, University of Minnesota.
- Miller, K.A., S.A. Snyder, M.A. Kilgore, M.A. Davenport. 2014. Family forest landowners' interest in forest carbon offset programs: focus group findings from the Lake States, USA. Environmental Management 54(6):1399-1411.
- Turner, C., D.R. Becker, S.J. Taff, G.M. Domke, and V. Gauto. 2010. Assessing forestation opportunities for carbon sequestration in Minnesota. Report for the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, St. Paul, MN.