Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Forest and Conservation Science

Department or School/College

College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Tyron J. Venn

Commitee Members

Nathaniel Anderson, Douglas Dalenberg, Christopher Keyes, Stephen Seibert


University of Montana


There are substantial opportunities for mechanized thinning treatments to reduce the likelihood of severe and damaging wildfires and improve forest health in the public forests of the Western US. These treatments could also produce woody biomass that can be used to generate renewable energy and displace fossil fuels. Although woody biomass energy is often not financially competitive with fossil fuels, financial analysis alone is an incomplete method of comparison because of the significant negative environmental externalities imposed by the burning of fossil fuels, and potential positive externalities associated with woody biomass energy generation. It is possible that when non-market costs and benefits are accounted for, the economic efficiency of woody biomass energy will compare more favorably to fossil fuels.

This study employed the choice modeling method in Arizona, Colorado, and Montana, to examine marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) for woody biomass energy produced from treatments in public forests. Positive and statistically significant MWTP is found for woody biomass energy generation, improving forest health, reducing risk of large wildfires, and improving air quality. Results from a latent class model reveal that sociodemographic and attitudinal characteristics are significant determinants of preferences about public forestland management for woody biomass energy generation. Four distinct classes of respondents were identified. These findings can be used by policy makers and public land managers to estimate the social benefits of utilizing residues from public forest restoration or fuel treatment programs to generate energy.



© Copyright 2016 Robert Marshall Campbell