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Review

Socioeconomic Constraints to Biomass Removal from Forest Lands for Fire Risk Reduction in the Western U.S.

1
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Sitka, AK 99835, USA
2
Ecological Restoration Institute, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011, USA
3
College of Natural Resources, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
4
USDA Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR 97205, USA
5
Adaptive Management, Ecosystem Management Coordination, USDA Forest Service, Washington Office, Washington, DC 20250, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2018, 9(5), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050264
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 14 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 11 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue At the Frontiers of Knowledge in Forest Economics)
Many socioeconomic constraints exist for biomass removals from federal lands in the western U.S. We examine several issues of importance, including biomass supply chains and harvesting costs, innovative new uses for bioenergy products, and the policy framework in place to provide incentives for biomass use. Western states vary greatly in the extent and utilization of forest resources, the proportion of land under federal ownership, and community and stakeholder structure and dynamics. Our research—which focused on the socioeconomic factors associated with biomass removal, production, and use—identified several important trends. Long-term stewardship projects could play a role in influencing project economics while being conducive to private investment. State policies are likely to help guide the growth of biomass utilization for energy products. New markets and technologies, such as biofuels, for use in the aviation industry, torrefied wood, mobile pyrolysis, and wood coal cofiring could greatly change the landscape of biomass use. Social needs of residents in wildland urban interfaces will play an important role, especially in an era of megafires. All of these trends—including significant unknowns, like the volatile prices of fossil energy—are likely to affect the economics of biomass removal and use in western forests. View Full-Text
Keywords: hazard fuels; fire risk; biomass; bioenergy; community; socioeconomic barriers; forest policy hazard fuels; fire risk; biomass; bioenergy; community; socioeconomic barriers; forest policy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nicholls, D.L.; Halbrook, J.M.; Benedum, M.E.; Han, H.-S.; Lowell, E.C.; Becker, D.R.; Barbour, R.J. Socioeconomic Constraints to Biomass Removal from Forest Lands for Fire Risk Reduction in the Western U.S. Forests 2018, 9, 264. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050264

AMA Style

Nicholls DL, Halbrook JM, Benedum ME, Han H-S, Lowell EC, Becker DR, Barbour RJ. Socioeconomic Constraints to Biomass Removal from Forest Lands for Fire Risk Reduction in the Western U.S. Forests. 2018; 9(5):264. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050264

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nicholls, David L., Jeffrey M. Halbrook, Michelle E. Benedum, Han-Sup Han, Eini C. Lowell, Dennis R. Becker, and R. J. Barbour 2018. "Socioeconomic Constraints to Biomass Removal from Forest Lands for Fire Risk Reduction in the Western U.S." Forests 9, no. 5: 264. https://doi.org/10.3390/f9050264

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