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Individual Highlight

Production Costs of Poplar Energy Crops in the Great Lake States

Photo of Industrial poplar farm. Wisconsin Ron Zalesny, USDA Forest ServiceIndustrial poplar farm. Wisconsin Ron Zalesny, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Short-rotation woody crops have historically been used as feedstocks for energy and fiber, yet their relevance for environmental remediation technologies is becoming equally prominent. Regardless of their end use, knowing the costs associated with producing these crops is essential for maximizing the suite of ecosystem services the trees provide. Northern Research Station scientists developed the first-ever set of enterprise budgets detailing costs of these crops in the Lake States.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Zalesny, Ronald S., Jr. 
Research Location : University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Department of Applied Economics, St. Paul, MN; Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Ames, IA; Northern Research Station, Institute for Applied Ecosystem Studies, Rhinelander, WI (NRS-13)
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2014
Highlight ID : 656

Summary

Uncertain profitability across the landscape is a concern that hinders broad-scale deployment of short-rotation woody crops such as species and hybrids within the genus Populus, such as hybrid poplars. However, there may be specific locations throughout the United States where these purpose-grown trees are the best crop choice because of unique soil, climatic, or market conditions that limit the alternatives, thereby creating opportunities for inclusion of woody feedstocks into national bioenergy portfolios. Similarly, short-rotation woody crops are being developed for afforestation and reforestation during environmental remediation applications along rural to urban interfaces. To enhance the ecosystem services these systems provide, Forest Service scientists developed the first-ever set of enterprise budgets detailing costs of short-rotation woody crops in the Great Lake states. The results are important for producers and land managers making decisions on whether poplars warrant deployment for ecosystem services such as bioenergy, biofuels, and/or bioproducts, as well as phytoremediation and associated environmental clean-up technologies.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

 
  • William F. Lazarus, University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, Department of Applied Economics, St. Paul, MN
  • William L. Headlee Iowa State University, Department of Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Ames, IA