Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forestry (MS)

College, School or Department Name

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Ann L Maclean


The importance of the United States' wood and wood byproducts as biomass feedstocks is increasing as the concern about security and sustainability of global energy production continues to rise. Thus, second generation woody feedstock sources in Michigan, e.g., hybrid poplar and hybrid willow (Populus spp.), are viewed as a potential source of biomass for the proposed biofuel ethanol production plant in Kinross, MI. It is important to gain an understanding of the spatial distribution of current feedstock sources, harvesting accessibility via the transportation infrastructure and land ownerships in order to ensure long-term feedstock extent. This research provides insights into the current extent of aspen and northern hardwoods, and an assessment of potential for expanding the area of these feedstock sources based on pre-European settlement conditions. A geographic information system (GIS) was developed to compile available geospatial data for 33 counties located within 150 miles of the Kinross facility. These include present day and pre-European settlement land use/cover, soils, road infrastructure, and land ownerships. The results suggest that a significant amount of northern hardwoods has been converted to other land use/cover types since European settlement, and the "scattering" of aspen stands has increased. Furthermore, a significant amount of woody biomass is available in close proximity to the existing road network, which can be effectively utilized as feedstock. Potential aspen and northern hardwoods restoration areas are identified in the vicinity of road networks which can be used for future woody feedstock production.