The South's outlook for sustainable forest bioenergy and biofuels production
The future of a wood-based biofuel/bioenergy sector could hold important implications for the use, structure and function of forested landscapes in the South. This paper examines a set of questions regarding the potential effects of biofuel developments both on markets for traditional timber products and on the provision of various non-timber ecosystem services. In addition, we examine the key factors that would determine the development of such a sector, especially state and federal policies. A variety of factors will likely affect raw material supply in the region, but landowners have long demonstrated responsiveness to expanded demands for timber. The potential for competition with existing industry appears high. New policies could have the most immediate impact on the structure and size of this new set of demands and there appears to be strong potential for market growth and price increases for raw materials. Potential effects on ecosystem service values are highly uncertain, suggesting that monitoring be emphasized as these developments progress.