Woody Biomass and Bioenergy

BLM manages approximately 65 million acres of forests and woodlands in Alaska and 14 Western States (FIA Report 2007). An estimated 16 million acres are in need of restoration. Woody biomass is a part of BLM's forest product line and is primarily comprised of restoration residues and smaller diameter material from forestry, fuels and rangeland treatments. Biomass utilization is expected to increase as an increasing number of renewable and bioenergy facilities come on-line.

When trying to reduce hazardous wildland fire fuels and utilize biomass as part of forest health and restoration treatments, the BLM lands are not unique. They share many of the same barriers, and offer the same opportunities as other federal, state and private lands. Most of the 16 million acres needing restoration are in rural areas, a long distance away from many existing woody biomass markets. Transportation costs to these markets can be quite high, and establishing new markets for woody biomass is often difficult. The BLM is actively working with partners in local communities to identify and promote opportunities.


Woody Biomass Utilization Desk Guides

There are two desk guides available. 
The first desk guide is published by the USDA Forest Service, the second is published by the National Association of Conservation Districts.

The Woody Biomass Utilization Desk Guides have been developed to:

  • Provide a quick reference and suggestions to local land managers on how to locate and collaborate with biomass stakeholders;
  • Assess the viability of offsetting the costs of accomplishing hazardous fuels and ecosystem restoration treatments by utilizing marketable biomass;
  • Provide suggestions on how to use NEPA planning tools in a biomass-utilization program; and
  • Provide suggestions on how to use cost-effective sale preparation techniques and cost-effective timber sale / stewardship / service contract preparation techniques to provide increased supplies of biomass.
The Woody Biomass Utilization Desk Guides can be accessed here:

Interdepartmental Woody Biomass Utilization Working Group

The BLM is working jointly with the interdepartmental Woody Biomass Utilization Working Group (Woody BUG or WBUG). The current membership of the Working Group includes the Departments of Agriculture, Energy and Interior. Additional membership includes the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Environmental Protection Agency and others.
Since the passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act, the BLM and the Forest Service have developed a joint Action Plan for Title II - Renewable Energy, Section 210, which authorizes transportation and research grants for BLM and FS. 
Currently the Woody Biomass Utilization Grants are funded through the USDA Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin. More information about these grants is available at: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/research/units/tmu/index.shtml


BLM Projects and Studies

BLM has various projects to increase use of biomass:

  • Anchorage, AK - biomass heating of the Campbell Creek Science Center.
  • Alturas, CA - biomass utilization from 400,000 acres of juniper to restore sagebrush steppe ecosystems.
  • Royal Gorge, CO - mixing wood with coal at Aquila power for renewable energy.
  • Prineville, OR - interagency fuels treatment / biomass utilization with Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
  • Medford, OR - developing community renewable power to utilize 10K tons of biomass annually.

BLM and the Forest Service have jointly funded several biomass supply studies in the western states. The Coordinated Resource Offering Protocol (CROP) Studies were contracted with Mater Engineering of Corvallis, OR to look at levelizing the supply of small diameter material from all sources within circles drawn around utilization centers. Sites include:

  • Prineville, OR - with Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.
  • Mapleton, OR - with Siuslaw National Forest.
  • Lakeview, OR & Alturas, CA - with Fremont, Modoc, Winema National Forests.
  • New Mexico - includes the Cibola, Carson, Santa Fe National Forests.
  • Kremmling, CO - ncludes the Routt, White River, Arapaho, Medicine Bow National Forests.
  • Southern Utah - includes the Fishlake and Dixie National Forests.

General information on CROP Studies, and details on the CROP Study completed in Central Oregon (Bend / Prineville area) is available through these two links:

For more information on other CROP sites, please contact your state biomass lead.  Additional information on biomass and bioenergy can be found on the interagency website, forestsandrangelands.gov