Cost Analysis of Forest Biomass Supply Chain Logistics

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This study analyzes the cost of harvesting pulpwood from natural forests intended for the expansion of forest product opportunities in Michigan. Four sources of information were used to assess costs: (1) the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database; (2) a Michigan-specific version of the USDA Forest Service Fuel Reduction Cost Simulator (FRCS); (3) primary logistics data collected from a questionnaire sent to logging firms in Michigan; and (4) primary transportation data collected from truck and rail firms. Three different harvest prescriptions were modeled: 30% selective cut, 70% shelterwood cut, and clearcut. The prescriptions were applied to fully stocked or overstocked stands analyzed from the Forest Inventory and Analysis database. Harvest systems analyzed were the following: mechanized whole-tree feller buncher with skidder and processor; mechanized cut-to-length equipment and forwarder; and chainsaws and skidder systems. Transportation analyses have been conducted for truck and bimodal (truck and rail) transportation options. Procedures and results describe the wide range of data required to analyze the cost of the logging supply chain, demonstrating the variability in the determination of a fixed cost for forest biomass removal operations.

Keywords: cost assessment; harvesting; modeling; pulpwood; supply chain; survey; transportation

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 4, 2013

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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