Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental and Energy Policy (MS)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Social Sciences


Kathleen E Halvorsen


There is interest in developing a reliable, sustainable, domestic U.S. biofuels industry. A domestic biofuels industry has the potential to provide economic, environmental, and national security benefits on a local, regional, national, and global level. The Mascoma Corporation plans to develop a cellulosic ethanol facility in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula. The primary feedstock of the plant site would be trees sourced within a 150 mile supply radius. In the eastern Upper Peninsula, this radius encompasses Alger, Chippewa, Delta, Luce, Mackinac, and Schoolcraft counties. In these six counties there are 1,320,500 acres of NIPF (non-industrial private forestlands). These acres account for 40% of the total timberland in these six counties. Thus it is likely that in order for the successful implementation of a cellulosic ethanol facility the support of local NIPF owners will be necessary.

This thesis presents research on how eastern Upper Peninsula forest landowners think about and manage their land. It is based on 48 in-depth interviews with these landowners. The goal was to determine how landowner values and beliefs, on a variety of issues including wildlife management, land management, biofuels development, and climate change, are expressed through both their current management decisions, and possibly their future land management decisions. Some of the values articulated by the landowners in this study included biodiversity protection, conservation of healthy game populations, and the production of high-value timber. Understanding the values and beliefs of landowners in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan is critical for successfully developing a sustainable regional woody bioenergy.