Conventional wisdoms of woody biomass utilization on federal public lands

Dennis R. Becker, Sarah M. McCaffrey, Dalia Abbas, Kathleen E. Halvorsen, Pamela Jakes, Cassandra Moseley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The appeal of biomass utilization grows as the need for wildfire risk reduction, economic development, and renewable energy generation becomes more pressing. However, uncertainty exists regarding the factors necessary to stimulate use. We draw on in-depth interviews with local industry, agency, community, and tribal representatives from 10 study sites on federal public lands across the United States to examine persistent conventional wisdoms about what hinders biomass use. Findings indicate that the conventional wisdoms were reasonably accurate although the degree to which each impeded progress varied. Their interconnectedness also varied depending on local conditions. Supply guarantees, industry presence, transportation, and the value of the biomass were limiting factors to use, whereas agency budgets and staffing, environmental concerns, and partnerships more aggravated the problem than impeded progress. Understanding the scope and consistency of these accepted truths is important for ensuring that management efforts and ensuing policy effectively targets local use challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)208-211
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Forestry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2011


  • Biomass utilization
  • Markets
  • Policy
  • Problem framing


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