Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

W.A. Franke College of Forestry and Conservation

Committee Chair

Elizabeth Dodson

Commitee Members

Nathaniel Anderson, John Goodburn, Neva Hassanein


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Forest Management | Wood Science and Pulp, Paper Technology


Dry ponderosa pine/mixed conifer stands in the Southwestern United States create an overabundance of woody biomass during restoration and fuel treatments. It has been the job of land managers and resource specialists to develop management goals and practices to treat stands and lower the risk of catastrophic wildfires while managing for accumulations of woody biomass. Knowing the limitations, setbacks, and successes will help researchers, the United States Forest Service, and other land managers better improve woody biomass utilization. In conjunction with three previous ForBio Southwest studies, we present results from ten phone interviews from three Arizona and New Mexico ranger districts. Our results sought to understand how woody biomass affects the implementation and subsequent forest restoration and fuel treatment outcomes and understand land managers' and resource specialists' opinions about woody biomass markets and products. Trade-offs for land managers and specialists on managing woody biomass could be summarized into three categories: 1) market availability, 2) treatment cost, and 3) ecosystem health. Our results found that land managers relied on prescribed fires to treat the material in districts with limited biomass utilization facilities. Hauling distances, paired with the low biomass value, were a limitation for removal. Some participants saw the success of landscape-scale restoration depended on the ability to grow industry capacity at a scale that can match the need for restoration. By expanding partnership and collaboration, economic incentives, and economic diversity, the Southwest biomass utilization market has the potential for future growth and success.



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