Biomass Harvesting, Forwarding and Processing Systems

Does Michigan have the workforce and technological capacity to supply biomass from natural and plantation forests? How do different systems that supply biomass compare?

Research question

Is there enough workforce and technological capacity in northeastern Michigan to supply one million tons of pulpwood annually from northern hardwood forests? Answering this question requires an understanding of current harvesting technology and the extent of harvesting operating capacity in the region. This project will help to answer broader questions about the supply chain and logistics of hardwood production in northeastern Michigan.



The research methods used include: (1) a comprehensive survey of equipment and the full logging community within the 150 miles radius around Kinross, MI; (2) modeling of supply chain scenarios for the supply of wood using different harvesting operations and systems; (3) several consultations and meetings with the logging community and national experts.


Study objectives include:

  • Inventory existing equipment
  • Identify current production capacities with this equipment
  • Develop harvesting and cost scenarios.
  • Run analysis for different supply systems and different equipment
  • Explore the potential to optimize production


Progress and Results

A survey of existing harvesting, forwarding and processing systems was conducted with the logging community in Michigan, with special attention to the area within a 150 mile radius of Kinross. To compute harvesting system costs for the equipment systems commonly used by Michigan loggers, we adapted an existing model to Michigan conditions. An analysis of survey results and harvest model results are available in the final report below.

Final Report:

Improving Forest Feedstock Harvesting, Processing, and Hauling Efficiencies