Assessing sustainable forest biomass potential and bioenergy implications for the northern Lake States region, USA

Sidhanand Kukrety, David C. Wilson, Anthony W. D'Amato, Dennis R. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Forestlands in the United States have tremendous potential for providing feedstocks necessary to meet emerging renewable energy standards. The Lake States region is one area recognized for its high potential of supplying forest-derived biomass; however, the long-term availability of roundwood harvests and associated residues from this region has not been fully explored. Better distribution and temporal availability estimates are needed to formulate emerging state policies regarding renewable energy development. We used a novel predictive methodology to quantify sustainable biomass availability and likely harvest levels over a 100-year period in the Lake States region. USDA Forest Inventory and Analysis estimates of timberland were combined with published growth and yield models, and historic harvest data using the Forest Age Class Change Simulator (FACCS) to generate availability estimates. Monte-Carlo simulation was used to develop probability distributions of biomass harvests and to incorporate the uncertainty of future harvest levels. Our results indicate that 11.27-15.71Mty-1 dry roundwood could be sustainably harvested from the Lake States. Assuming 65% collection rate, 1.87-2.62Mty-1 residue could be removed, which if substituted for coal would generate 2.12-2.99GWh of electricity on equivalent energy basis while reducing GHG (CO2e) emission by 1.91-2.69Mt annually. In addition to promoting energy security and reducing GHG emissions, forest residues for energy may create additional revenues and employment opportunities in a region historically dependent on forest-based industries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-176
Number of pages10
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
StatePublished - Oct 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by the USDA / DOE Biomass Research and Development Initiative (# 2009-10006-05948 ). Initial support provided by Grant Domke in providing understanding of the FACCS model is greatly appreciated. The authors also wish to thank Ronald J. Piva (FIA), Anna Dirkswager (Minnesota DNR) for data support and other members of the project team for their valuable suggestions during the course of this study. We also thank the editor and the anonymous reviewer for their valuable suggestions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.


  • Bioenergy
  • Biomass estimation
  • Forest residue
  • GHG reduction
  • Lake states
  • Sustainable harvest


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