Availability of Woody Biomass in Northeastern Michigan

Our inventory shows that annual timber growth in northeastern Michigan exceeds harvest for most groups of tree species.

Research Question

How much forest-based biomass is available for the Frontier Renewable Resources cellulosic ethanol facility? This is a complex question dealing with physical locations and quantities of biomass and how the timberland, under various ownerships, is used. Many factors influence how forests are used, and research needs to address the amount and location of wood and potential factors influencing its use. The planned facility in Kinross, Michigan will produce 40 million gallons per year initially and require approximately 1,000,000 green tons of clean hardwood chips annually. Wood supplies will come from Michigan and Ontario, but this analysis focuses on the Michigan supply region only.


The Research Approach

Timber resources were evaluated in nine 30-mile zones from 30 to 150 miles from Kinross, MI (see figure above). Separate zones were defined for the Upper and Northern Lower peninsulas. Forest Inventory and Analysis (USDA Forest Service) data for 2004-2008 from 4,945 plots within the supply area were summarized for eight species groups – Aspen, Maple, Oak, Upland Hardwoods, Lowland Hardwoods, Pine, Upland Softwoods and Lowland Softwoods. Timber sale data from Michigan’s state and national forests were used to evaluate market trends. Competition for timber and factors affecting availability of timber for harvest were evaluated by a meta-analysis of published and unpublished reports. A mail survey of Michigan’s logging sector and primary mills was conducted to further assess industry conditions and future trends. Additionally, a survey of non-industrial private forest owners in Kinross area was conducted to document various aspects of management practices and wood-related activities undertaken by this ownership group.


Progress & Results

The final report for this project has been completed. Four related research products have been developed by Larry Leefers (MSU) and Mike Vasievich (Tessa Systems, LLC); the full research report, an appendix supporting the research report, a poster presented at the 2010 National Society of American Foresters (SAF) Conference, and an SAF proceedings paper that expands on the poster presentation. The report and appendix are available here. Additionally, several summary documents have been developed, including fact sheets and snapshots of non-industrial private forest owners, logging firms, and primary forest products industry in northeastern Michigan. Karen Potter-Witter (MSU), Shivan GC (MSU), and Brett Kuipers (MSU) led the development of these outreach documents.


See also the webpage for the Michigan Statewide research: Assessing the Availability of Woody-Biomass in Michigan.



Final Project Report:

Timber Resources and Factors Affecting Timber Availability and Sustainability for Kinross, Michigan




Snapshot of Logging Firms in Michigan

Snapshot of Primary Forest Products Mills in Michigan

An overview of Non-industrial Private Forest Owners in Northeastern Michigan


Fact Sheets:

Timber Resources in Northeast Michigan

Factors Affecting Timber Availability and Sustainability for Kinross Michigan

Determinants of Michigan’s Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners’ Willingness to Supply Biomass for Bioenergy

Means of Communication for Reaching Michigan’s Nonindustrial Private Forest Landowners



Michigan Woody Biomass Supply Snapshot

Michigan’s Forest Products Sector: Are They Ready for Promoting Bioenergy?

Regional Variation of Non-Industrial Private Forest Owners in Michigan

Assessment of Michigan Non-Industrial Private Owners' Willingness to Supply Biomass for Bioenergy

Understanding Michigan’s Non-industrial Private Forest Landowners’ Willingness to Supply Biomass for Bioenergy

Private Forest Landowner Communication Analysis in Northeastern Michigan