Sustainable biomass supply from fuel reduction treatments : a biomass assessment of federally owned land in eastern Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/kw52jc41f

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  • Wildfire exclusion over the past century or more has resulted in extensive fuel accumulations throughout much of the West that combined with recent climatic patterns have increased the frequency of relatively uncommon, large, high-severity wildfires. Forest restoration treatments intended to alter landscape-level fire disturbance patterns can be difficult to implement due to issues of scalability and cost. The utilization of biomass material generated during harvest can help offset restoration treatment cost. Currently, biomass supplies about two percent of all of energy consumed in the U.S. but is expected to grow to three percent of the national energy consumption demand by 2030. Estimating the potential level of biomass resources available from treatments would ensure expansions of the current wood products infrastructure are appropriately scaled to match the available resource. I completed a biomass assessment of feedstock generated from fuels reduction and forest health thinning in eastern Oregon to quantify the available biomass feedstock supply. Additionally, the assessment quantifies benefits provided by such treatments through a reduction of landscape-level wildland fire hazard. Biomass feedstock supplies ranged from 131,495 bdt/year to 453,421 bdt/year in the Blue Mountain subregion and from 201,326 bdt/year to 697,344 bdt/year in the southern Oregon subregion. I modeled several management scenarios that varied in silvicultural approach and harvest level compared to a status quo scenario. Implementing the most aggressive treatment scenario across the total treatable landscape demonstrated a 10.8% decrease in landscape characterized as high fire hazard in the Blue Mountain subregion and a 6.5% decrease in the southern Oregon subregion. Utilization of the available biomass resource in eastern Oregon can provide a sustainable energy source into the future while also helping to responsibly manage our national forests.
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