Graduation Date

Spring 2023

Document Type

Thesis

Program

Master of Science degree with a major in Environmental Systems, option Energy, Technology, and Policy

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Kevin Fingerman

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Hunter Harrill

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Erin Kelly

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories

Environmental Systems

Abstract

Attempts to address wildfire risk and forest resilience have increased substantially over the last 20 years with specific interest in removing excess vegetation from stands, commonly referred to as “forest biomass”. However, the market capacity for and the economics of biomass utilization have been a limiting factor to achieving statewide goals for forest health and fire resilience. This thesis looks at the Southern Cascade and Northern Sierra Nevada biomass supply chain to benchmark current market capacity for biomass utilization through mapping and harvest record analysis. It also calculates the net revenue of biomass mobilization based on costs developed from a literature review, in addition to updating a harvest cost model with 2022 diesel and contractor haul prices. Finally, research estimates a potential market price for biomass in order to incentivize removal. I found that this region has over 400,000 unutilized bone-dry tons (BDT) net available per year in the region when accounting for biomass availability along roads located within recently burned areas. However, some of this material is not made available on a reliable basis year to year. Only 200,000 BDT is unutilized per year on a reliable basis with at least 65% of the material originating from in-woods operations. I also estimated that the market prices to cover mobilization costs for biomass should be $56.42 to $73.34 per BDT and $61.46 to $79.90 per BDT in order to incentivize additional acres treated at a distance of 55 miles one way. Using the current average market price of $50 per BDT, this would equate to providing a subsidy of $76.48 to $356.43 per acre.

Citation Style

APA

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