CNR Faculty Member Publishes New Article on Using Forest Biomass for Energy Production

Friday, January 28 2011

Jay O’Laughlin, professor and director of the College of Natural Resources Policy Analysis Group, recently published “Forest Biomass Markets: Economics and Policy Primer” in the January-February 2011 edition of the Western Forester, a publication of the Society of American Foresters.

O’Laughlin’s article focused on practical matters foresters should know in order to advise their landowner clients or employers about using forest biomass for energy production. Forest biomass is defined as logging slash and precommercial thinning of small trees with no value for conversion to wood products. O’Laughlin’s article addressed these main points:
• current opportunities for forest biomass utilization
• economic value of biomass is avoided cost of “waste wood” disposal
• government policy effects on forest biomass markets
• optimistic outlook for biomass as an alternative energy source

O’Laughlin is chair of the Forestry Task Force, Idaho Strategic Energy Alliance, and co-chair, Woody Biomass Utilization and Bioenergy Subcommittee of the Western Governors’ Association Forest Health Advisory Committee.

The article is available online at; (pages 8-9).