Economic Impacts of Short-Rotation Woody Crops for Energy or Oriented Strand Board: A Minnesota Case Study

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Short-rotation woody crops (SRWC) such as hybrid poplars are becoming increasingly competitive with agriculture on marginal land. The trees can be grown for energy and for traditional uses such as oriented strandboard. Using IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) software, we modeled the impacts of shifting land use from hay and pasture for cow‐calf beef operations to hybrid poplars in northwest and west central Minnesota. Construction of a $175 million energy conversion facility capable of making 44 million gal of ethanol and 7.6 million gal of mixed alcohols by gasification/catalysis would create 2,412 jobs, with $158 million in value added. Facility operation, assuming establishment of 200,000 ac of hybrid poplar, did not substantially change the number of jobs relative to using the land for cow‐calf operations. However, the SRWC-related jobs would likely be at higher average salary levels and business tax collections would be higher, resulting in a value-added increase of $80 million annually.

Keywords: IMPLAN; OSB; ethanol; feedstock production; hybrid poplar; impact analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2011

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of Forestry is the most widely circulated scholarly forestry journal in the world. In print since 1902, the Journal has received several national awards for excellence. The mission of the Journal of Forestry is to advance the profession of forestry by keeping forest management professionals informed about significant developments and ideas in the many facets of forestry: economics, education and communication, entomology and pathology, fire, forest ecology, geospatial technologies, history, international forestry, measurements, policy, recreation, silviculture, social sciences, soils and hydrology, urban and community forestry, utilization and engineering, and wildlife management. The Journal is published bimonthly: January, March, May, July, September, and November.
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