Estimating a juniper biomass supply from private rangelands : the impact of distance and biotic factors on costs Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/0c483n43h

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  • Central Oregon has attracted attention as a potential location for a biomass industry based on a locally fixed source of western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis Hook) feedstock. This study identifies a supply of juniper from private lands to determine how much of the available juniper is economically supplied at alternative prices if a market were to develop. In light of the encroachment of juniper and its spillover costs, the potential benefits of removal may be multi-dimensional in terms of private benefits to landowners, as well as social benefits from water and habitat enhancement. At current density, juniper on these private lands has negative impacts that diminish biodiversity, reduce forage grass and tie up water resources to some degree. The difference in the value of cattle productivity resulting from the presence of juniper as well as any forgone net returns from the sale of juniper to the biofuel industry reflect the opportunity cost to the rancher. The supply curve for juniper as a biofuel source will shift in response to policy and economic factors. For example, the Oregon Biofuel Producer tax credit and a federal wildlife enhancement program augment the acre level harvest costs, and thus shift supply. In this research, the components of cost are estimated. The average total cost for extraction, processing, and transporting the entire quantity is estimated to be approximately $120 bdt⁻¹. On a per land acre basis the costs will vary by density. Because of limited road networks the available supply of juniper was limited by access --only 27 percent of the juniper acres on private rangelands. Thus in the absence of an improved road network, economically viable juniper to supply the biofuel market is limited. Given the relatively low prices being discussed by the industry, the feasibility of supplying juniper at a scale needed for a biofuel facility is unlikely. The potential increases in cattle production due to juniper removal could reduce costs by 20 percent, but this is not likely to substantially increase the quantities supplied. Other possible shifters of the supply curve for juniper include subsidies, technological improvements in harvesting, and road building.
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