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An Exploratory Study of Biomass Harvesting among Logging Firms in Virginia and North Carolina

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Logging firms in the United States will need to harvest and transport woody biomass if national wood-based renewable energy production goals are to be achieved. Expansion of associated biomass markets could provide important revenue opportunities for logging firms and potentially alter the sector. To study biomass harvesting behavior among logging firms, a logistic regression model was developed using a backward likelihood ratio procedure and 114 Virginia and North Carolina logging firms that operate in proximity to established woody biomass markets. The sample was identified from a larger pool of firm owners who participated in a Virginia Sustainable Harvesting and Resource Professional (SHARP) Logger Program survey. Hypothesized predictors included logging operation and owner variables. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to verify the underlying structure of summated latent constructs. The model correctly classified biomass harvesting 78% of the time, exhibited acceptable fit, and contained normally distributed residual error. Significant predictors included firm mechanization, haul distance, and owner perspectives regarding job security satisfaction and attitudes about biomass harvesting. Analysis of variance and χ2 were used to test for differences between significant predictors when factored across a three-point biomass market-action variable—no market, market/no harvest, and market/harvest. The follow-on market-action evaluations included firms from the SHARP Logger Program survey that share county-level centers of operation for which at least one of the firms noted proximity to a woody biomass market. Implications for logging sector research are discussed, along with practical considerations for regions where wood-based renewable energy initiatives are on the rise.

Keywords: diffusion of innovations; job security; logistic regression; renewable energy; woody biomass

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-10-01

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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