Assessing Spatially-explicit Short Rotation Woody Crop (SRWC) Production Metrics

Issue: As (Perlack et al.1995) noted, one of the first challenges for any commercial activity requiring SRWC is to determine where suitable and available lands are located, i.e., site selection must consider biological, economic, and societal factors with information on soils, geology, vegetation, current land uses, topography, etc., compared and spatially-defined using GIS.


Study Description: Currently SRWC productivity is not cost effective, assessing optimal site locations for large geographic regions are essential for lowering costs. This research integrates short rotation woody crop (SRWC) suitability by species, production metrics, and logistics of the supply chain in the context of stochastic principles to identify optimal production locations for deploying SRWCs relative to biorefinery locations.

The four genera (target species) with potential for large scale production of biomass are: Populus (cottonwoods, hybrid poplars, aspen), Salix (willows), Pinus (southern pines), and Eucalyptus (eucalypts). There are four (4) steps to accomplish: identify site requirements, model yield, model cost, and integrate data and models.

This study will determine when and where production and logistics of SRWCs build efficiencies for profitability and sustainability of biomass supply chains if deployed in conjunction with potential facility locations. Results will provide sub-county short-rotation woody crop suitability and production metrics linked to existing or potential biomass facility locations. Data, models and results from the 33 eastern states will be integrated into BioSAT analytical framework at


  • Higher Resolution Regional Decision Support Tools
  • Mapping System to Identify Potential Sites
  • IIdentification of Opportunity Zones for Bioenergy Facilities.

The University of Tennessee; The Center for Renewable Carbon; Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS); The Southeastern Sun Grant Center; North Carolina State University; The University of Georgia, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; USDA; U.S. Department of Energy; U.S. Department of Transportation; U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and ArborGen.

Contacts: James H. Perdue—USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station