Future Increases in Biomass Demand Could Affect Wood Economy

Wood is used for an abundance of everyday items — furniture, buildings, paper — so much so that it would be difficult to find a space completely without wood-based products. However, a competing use is emerging: many studies predict that more wood will be used for bioenergy in the future, which could affect that industry…  More 

Species Selection for Woody Biomass Production

In the southeastern U.S., short-rotation woody crops are a significant part of a growing renewable energy supply. A USDA Forest Service study examines how growing different tree species for bioenergy may have impacts on water yield. “Loblolly pine has long been considered the go-to woody bioenergy species in the South,” says Peter Caldwell, research hydrologist…  More 

Barriers to Bioenergy?

At the national level, bioenergy is seen as a crucial component of a secure and renewable energy plan. Many people view southern forests as prime resources to support the hopeful bioenergy industry. But how is the national agenda for bioenergy received by communities in the South? “We are interested in understanding how the national discourse…  More 

Eucalyptus Freezes in the Piedmont

When a cold snap killed the Eucalyptus benthamii saplings, no one was surprised. E. benthamii is one of the most cold-tolerant of approximately 700 Eucalypts. Still, it is maladapted to the North Carolina Piedmont, according to a recent USDA Forest Service study published in Forest Science. “Winters are becoming milder,” says John Butnor, an SRS…  More 

Where to Grow Woody Bioenergy Crops?

Demand for bioenergy is expected to grow – as much as 10 times larger than present. Woody crops such as poplar or loblolly pine have the potential to fuel this growth. But where should such crops be planted? How to minimize transportation costs? Where are the opportunity zones? Where are the risks? USDA Forest Service…  More 

Innovations in Forest Operations Technology

Cut and haul costs. Elemental time study. Machine production hour. Ask USDA Forest Service scientist Dana Mitchell about any of these forest engineering terms, and you’re in for a treat. As a research forest engineer, Mitchell’s work focuses on improving the technology and business of forest operations – with a broader goal of improving forest…  More 

Eucalyptus or Loblolly: Which Uses More Water?

When asked which tree uses more water, the native, industry favorite loblolly pine or the ultra-fast growing immigrant from Australia, Eucalyptus, U.S. Forest Service biological scientist Chris Maier had a quick answer: both. “Growing wood requires water,” says Maier. Loblolly and slash pines currently serve as the main sources of wood fiber in the South,…  More 

Switchgrass in Pine Plantations

In the southeastern U.S., loblolly pine plantations cover about 37 million acres of land. “Growing switchgrass in loblolly pine plantations could provide a sustainable source of biomass for cellulosic energy,” says U.S. Forest Service research hydrologist Devendra Amatya. “Growing the two species together could also help maintain the economic and environmental benefits of a forest…  More 

Southern Forest Products: An Economic Engine

A storymap developed by USDA Forest Service researchers allows users to interactively chart the ebb and flow of forest products across the southern states. Using Forest Service Inventory and Analysis (FIA) data loaded onto Esri’s ArcGIS Online (AGOL) platform, Southern Forest Products – An Economic Engine, provides a constantly updated guide to southern timber product outputs…  More 

Studying Woody Biomass for Energy Across the U.S.

Woody biomass includes stems, small branches, treetops, needles, leaves, and sometimes the roots of trees and shrubs. These materials are byproducts of forest management activities such as thinning, but they can also be a valuable source of bioenergy. Five U.S. Forest Service Southern Research Station (SRS) scientists – John Stanturf, Emile Gardiner, Leslie Groom, Dana…  More