Can Understory from Managed Pine Forest be Used as Feedstock in the Biochemical Biorefinery?

Southern pine forests produce nearly 60% of the softwood lumber in the U. S. To maximize production, pine forests need to be maintained by minimizing hardwood understory growth; more than $150 million dollars are spent annually to reduce or eliminate competition, primarily through the use of herbicides. The use of this hardwood understory could be beneficial to both the forester and the biorefinery operation. The major component of this understory growth is sweetgum, which is a fast growing tree, while minor components are: oaks, dogwoods, and small loblolly pine trees. In an ideal biorefinery setting, feedstock will be uniform; however, the reality will consist mostly of a mix of hardwoods rather than single species. Having the ability to process mixed feedstocks in a biorefinery setting, will minimize the intensity of the harvesting operation. If biochemical-based biofuels processing can tolerate 50% sweetgum combined with 50% understory tree mix, a simplified harvesting scenario can be developed, leading to reduced environmental impact and greater production efficiencies. This research project is centered on establishing strategies for integrating woody feedstock production into existing pine forest management practices. Arkansas, alone could supply over 2 million dry tons annually of understory growth: similar scenarios could apply to other southeastern U.S. States.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Program Information: Advanced Research, Biobased Research


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Funding: $70000.00
  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    Department of Transportation
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Project Managers:

    Johnson, Shawn

  • Performing Organizations:

    University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

    Board of Trustees
    Fayetteville, AR  United States 
  • Principal Investigators:

    Bellmer, Danielle

  • Start Date: 20091201
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20121130
  • Source Data: RiP Project 31376

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01572207
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Department of Transportation
  • Files: RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 4 2015 1:00AM