PORTLAND, Ore. April 19, 2017. In the Western United States, a small-diameter log and biomass utilization business can help fund active management and restoration efforts and provide rural communities with much-needed jobs. So what should businesses, forest managers, community groups, and others interested in turning the byproducts of forest management into a profitable enterprise consider?
A new online handbook published by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station offers guidance. The publication, Community Biomass Handbook Volume 4: Enterprise Development for Integrated Wood Manufacturing, takes a collaborative approach to enterprise development and recognizes the important role of partnerships and land managers in developing sustainable wood products businesses. The guidance is particularly relevant to communities and businesses near public lands.
“Everyone involved in the biomass utilization process, from the forest to the final product, has something to contribute,” said Eini Lowell, a research forest products technologist at the Pacific Northwest Research Station and lead author of the handbook. “The idea for our handbook is to share the unique information that each person may bring to the table and foster communication for a successful outcome. We’ve also included the Biomass Enterprise Economic Model, which allows rapid exploration of integrated manufacturing options and illustrates how a business can grow.”
The guide is the latest volume in a series of handbooks to help communities and land managers better utilize wood energy. Volume 4 is divided into four sections:
“Rural communities are pioneering approaches that integrate forest resilience and local infrastructure development,” said Marcus Kauffman, biomass resource specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry and a co-author of the handbook. In addition, the Oregon Department of Forestry has produced a series of multimedia stories that showcase the synergy of forest restoration and local wood products development.