Family Forest Owners and Bioenergy: Toward a blueprint "buy-in" plan for feedstock production.
Lee, Hanna F.
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The emerging biofuels industry in Washington State presents enormous opportunities for family forest owners. Feedstock supply from family forest owners will likely be necessary to supplement the supply of forest residuals from public lands and large-scale private industrial properties. Like every innovation, feedstock-for-biofuels production is challenging. It entails new and different private forest management practices. In this thesis I explore family forest owner perceived motivations and constraints towards producing feedstock for biofuel. Through key informant interviews with pertinent biofuel scientists and "experts" I explored state of the art feedstock production practices and perceived opportunities and barriers to implementation by family forest owners. I also conducted focus group interviews with family forest owners to uncover the factors that explain interviewees' perceived motivations and constraints to feedstock production. Salient motivations included land management benefits, economics, ecological sustainability, and the potential for small-scale, decentralized infrastructure. Salient constraints included ecological concerns, perceived lack of economic feasibility and market uncertainty, and conflicts with forest values and management preferences. Interviews were also moderated to reveal a descriptive sense of the impact, probability and penetration of feedstock production practices. Interviewees expressed that centralizing and transporting biomass might be the most impactful, or constraining practices. Transporting biomass off-site also had the least penetration of feedstock production behaviors. However, interviewees expressed a higher likelihood of supplying forest residuals if this barrier could be overcome by having someone pick up residuals from their property. We discuss the use of these interview findings in the development of a blueprint social-marketing plan and how a pilot of that can be implemented to enhance the adoption and diffusion of feedstock production by private family forest owners and farmers in Washington.
- Forestry