Cost analysis of forest biomass supply chain logistics

Document Type


Publication Date



College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


This study analyzes the cost of harvesting pulpwood from natural forests intended for the expansion of forest product opportunities in Michigan. Four sources of information were used to assess costs: (1) the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis database; (2) a Michigan-specific version of the USDA Forest Service Fuel Reduction Cost Simulator (FRCS); (3) primary logistics data collected from a questionnaire sent to logging firms in Michigan; and (4) primary transportation data collected from truck and rail firms. Three different harvest prescriptions were modeled: 30% selective cut, 70% shelterwood cut, and clearcut. The prescriptions were applied to fully stocked or overstocked stands analyzed from the Forest Inventory and Analysis database. Harvest systems analyzed were the following: mechanized whole-tree feller buncher with skidder and processor; mechanized cut-to-length equipment and forwarder; and chainsaws and skidder systems. Transportation analyses have been conducted for truck and bimodal (truck and rail) transportation options. Procedures and results describe the wide range of data required to analyze the cost of the logging supply chain, demonstrating the variability in the determination of a fixed cost for forest biomass removal operations.

Publisher's Statement

© 2013 Society of American Foresters. Publisher’s version of record:

Publication Title

Journal of Forestry