SRS Biomass Energy Research Strategy

"We envision a future where biomass and bioenergy utilization from southern forests is part of a dynamic and sustainable forest sector that includes private landowners, forest managers and resource professionals, forest industry, forest-based enterprise, and energy producers. Southern forests are the woodbasket of the Nation and provide a full range of forest values and uses to meet the needs of a society that is connected to forest systems."
—Southern Research Station BioEnergy Science Team

SRS Strategy FY11

Research programs:

  • Sustainable biomass utilization in southern forests
  • Growth and yield of intensive loblolly pine and genetic interactions
  • Carbon sequestration in southern forest types
  • Short rotation woody crop studies in LMAV (Stoneville) and at Savannah River
  • Forest operations studies on intensive pine biomass management, logistics, and pre-processing
  • Biomass supply and facility siting tools (BioSAT)
  • Thermochemical conversion processes and feedstock characterization (Pineville)

Communications and Outreach

  • New Station website and information being developed
  • Special session at 16th BSSRC
  • Station Strategic Program documentation
  • Joint ARS/SRS bioenergy science meeting (Aug 2011)

The Southern Station provides scientific knowledge to support sustainable management of forests. The rapid development of new biomass and bioenergy utilization presents challenges and opportunities for southern forests. To meet the need for scientifically-based action and response the SRS develops and delivers knowledge that:

  • Builds on what we know. Woody biomass for energy production is just one more output from forests. We synthesize existing information that relates to utilization of woody biomass and conduct meta-analysis to identify the unique knowledge gaps specific to woody biomass. The foundation of conventional forest management science provides a baseline for comparison with alternatives that yield increased biomass for energy.

  • Develops information about production systems and technology. This ranges from silviculture and genetics through harvesting and conversion technology. Production systems' that yield woody biomass for energy include agroforestry, natural stand management as well as intensive forest management and dedicated energy crops.

  • Develops Knowledge about the environmental and ecological outcomes associated with biomass recovery and utilization. These include carbon and nutrient cycling, wildlife, and water quality.

  • Develops knowledge about value structures of biomass. This includes macro-scale analyses of fiber markets and economics as well as evaluation of financial considerations for individual landowners. Assessments of supply and markets are useful at regional as well as local scales.

  • Delivers information through effective technology transfer. Our science products are integrated tools that address the multiple issues of biomass utilization. We also develop information about public attitudes and knowledge relating to resource management and use.