Evaluating loblolly pine bioenergy development potential using AHP integrated weighted overlay and network optimization in Virginia, USA

Huynh Truong Gia Nguyen, Erik Lyttek, Pankaj Lal, Taylor Wieczerak, Trang Luong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Bioenergy is an essential piece of the United States’ (US) energy portfolio. However, questions surrounding bioenergy sourcing and adoption at the producer level remain persistent challenges, hampering proliferation in areas not already available. To establish new industries, individual regions must be evaluated for various bioenergy feedstocks and incorporate elements for environmental, societal, and economic growth. This study assessed the overall potential for loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) in Virginia, US, for domestic bioenergy by utilizing stakeholder preferences for site selection and biomass potential from a regional growth and yield model. Our results show that bioenergy in the state requires widespread planting of loblolly pine to provide sufficient feedstock and that additional studies on the moisture content of pine across the region should be deployed to accurately map the expected quality of the feedstock. Additional outreach to landowners will be necessary since narrower land quality preferences compared to other stakeholder groups, though these narrower preferences do lead to overall higher yields and space efficiency. The least cost transportation for collecting log residues from sites to proposed burners ranged from $4.30 to $5.97 per ton in our research area. This analysis supports policy to increase plantings of loblolly pine to supplement the state forest industry and increase bioenergy. However, differences between stakeholder groups constitute a significant roadblock to establishment and may require further policy interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100271
JournalTrees, Forests and People
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Keywords

  • AHP
  • Allocation location
  • GIS
  • Loblolly pine
  • Network analyst
  • Timber waste

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