Economic Impacts of Biomass Removals

This study, titled “A National Study of the Economic Impacts of Biomass Removals to Mitigate Wildfire Damages on Federal, State, and Private Lands,” is funded under a 2001 grant from the Joint Fire Science Program.



Decades of fire suppression in fire-prone forested regions of the western and southern United States have created conditions favorable for catastrophic wildfires. Systematic stand density reduction through mechanical methods or a combination of mechanical methods and prescribed burning may address the fuel buildup, but the economic consequences of the biomass reductions from such a program are unclear. In this study, we evaluate the economic consequences of introducing biomass removals into wood products markets. In particular, we calculate the economic consequences of fire-related biomass removals from public lands on public and private timber producers and timber demanding firms within and outside of areas of biomass treatment zones. To do this, we have assembled information on (a) biomass removals cost and wood outputs, provided by the Fire and Fire Surrogates national study; (b) forest inventory, timber product output, and timber demand sector, provided by the Forest Products Laboratory and Forest Inventory and Analysis programs in fire-prone regions; (c) wood product prices nationwide; and (d) timber demand and supply historical price and quantity relationships within and among regions. The information is being used to project the effects of various scales of biomass removals programs on prices and economic surplus of private and public producers and the timber demand sector. Results of the analyses are being assembled and prepared in a format that could be used by federal land managers who are considering embarking on a biomass removals programs and need to understand the economic consequences of such a program on National Forest receipts and the broader local community.



Karen L. Abt and Jeff Prestemon