Project Details


Federal policies such as the 2002 Farm Bill, 2005 Energy Policy Act, 2007 Energy Independence Security Act and 2008 Farm Bill have specifically encouraged the production of cellulosic biofuels such as those produced from woody sources. Forestlands present in the southern United States occupy about 28% (215 million acres) of total forestlands (751 million acres) in the nation. The thirteen southern states spanning from Texas to Virginia with around 5 million private landowners and 62 percent of the country?s total growing stock removals in 2006 are expected to play a dominant role in woody biofuels market development. Another factor that supports the importance of southern states in woody biofuel future is the fact that forest inventory volume in the South region has responded to increased management and harvesting since 1990s, when more of the harvest shifted to private lands. Woody biofuels markets can contribute to rural development benefiting local communities by generating additional revenues to nonindustrial private forest landowners and other economic agents, stimulate employment and diversify rural economies. However, delineation of economic impacts on rural communities in the region has not been systematically analyzed. We will conduct stakeholder discussions and primary surveys to assess perceived socioeconomic impacts of woody biomass based biofuel industry on landowners and other key stakeholders. We will use this information to: (i) assess stakeholder perceptions, awareness, interest, and acceptance of forest biomass based biofuels, and (ii) evaluate socioeconomic factors affecting the acceptance. Potential woody biomass based biofuel expansion scenarios will be developed based on future biofuel market emergence and socioeconomic acceptability considerations. Financial and economic models will be used to assess direct, indirect, and induced impacts of woody biomass based biofuel expansion on stakeholders and region-wide socioeconomic and distributional impacts to identify winners and losers. We will discuss farm and regional impacts of woody biofuel expansion on non-metro (rural) counties in US South, including impacts on persistent poverty and minority dominated counties. This work will further understanding of the short and long-term impacts of woody biofuel expansion in US South and the ensuing socioeconomic impacts on rural landowners, minorities, and other rural groups. The research will act as decision support tool for public and private decision makers towards woody biofuel investments and also help generate public awareness, education, and outreach programs.

Effective start/end date1/08/1231/07/20


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $250,000.00


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