How much forest-based biomass is available?

Understanding how to efficiently produce biofuel in Michigan requires a solid grasp of how much woody biomass is physically present, how much can be harvested, and how much of the harvest can be used to produce biofuel.

Although solving this problem at first seems straightforward, it is actually quite complex when you consider the difficulty of measuring all the trees in the state. Forest inventory data and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are being used to estimate the amount of woody material in Michigan and its proximity to proposed refineries, such as the one in Kinross, Michigan.

After determining how much woody material is present, there are still other factors that can affect wood availability. Different landowners may be managing their forested land in ways that produce more or less biomass. Landowners may also differ in their opinion of how much they want to harvest and sell. Additionally, there may be existing lands in Michigan that could be used for growing woody energy crops. Looking at each of these issues is necessary to develop a complete picture of current and potential biomass availability.