Dana Mitchell

Project Leader
521 Devall Drive
Auburn, AL 36849-5418
Phone: 334-826-8700 x123

Current Research

Biomass harvesting, collection and storage are the primary focus areas of our current research. In a large project involving many research partners, we investigated the use of young pine plantations for biomass. This project included a wide variety of topics including equipment design and selection, harvesting production studies, chip van design and testing, log truck design and testing, and transpirational drying. In other projects, we have investigated the use of various ways to bundle and bale low-value forest residues. By densifying forest residues into a form that is compact and easy to handle, we can reduce the cost to transport the woody biomass material to an end-user facility.

Short rotation woody crops are another source for woody biomass. These purpose-grown trees are managed in a variety of ways with a range of planting densities (trees per acre, single or dual row) and management types (single stem or coppice). These different management decisions impact how and when the biomass can be harvested. We continue to investigate research topics surrounding equipment selection and the impact of type of cutting mechanism (shear or saw) on coppice response.

Other areas of research include the use of extended working hours in logging operations to evaluate production rates and impacts on forest workers; small scale forestry options for small tracts; and pinyon-juniper harvesting options to improve/restore rangeland vegetation.


Ph.D. in Forestry
Auburn University
M.F. in Forest Engineering
Oregon State University
B.S. in Forest Management
Washington State University

Professional Organizations

  • Council of Forest Engineering, Member (1994—Current)
  • American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Various Positions (2005—2010)


Research Highlights

A Simple Technique to Improve Woody Biomass Quality (2014)
SRS-2014-153 The commercial markets for biofuels and bio-based products will require cost-competitive raw materials to compete with rival energy sources. The Forest Service continues to work on identifying ways to improve feedstock logistics. In 2014, Forest Service scientists examined a method to improve biomass quality using a simple drying technique.

R&D Affiliations
Research Topics
Priority Areas
SRS Science Area
External Resources
  • Natural Inquirer logo Natural Inquirer
  • The sites listed below are third-party sites which the Forest Service has provided for reference only.