Quantifying what’s left in the woods

A study of commercial timber harvesting activities in Oregon and Washington was conducted from 2011 through 2015 to characterize current tree utilization, logging operations, and assist with estimating the amount of woody biomass left onsite after harvesting. Sample logging sites were selected within major geographic regions proportional to regional 5-year timber harvests. A two-stage sampling method was used to compute state-level utilization factors. Results of the study indicated that in Oregon, for every thousand cubic feet (MCF) delivered to the mill, harvesting removed 1,018 cubic feet (CF) of timber volume from growing stock, created 28 CF feet of growing-stock logging residue, and 10 CF of non-growing-stock material were delivered to the mill. This compared to 1,021 CF of growing-stock removals that created 29 CF of growing-stock logging residue and utilized 9 CF of non-growing-stock per 1 MCF of mill-delivered volume in Washington. Analyses showed that although utilization varies site to site, tree by tree, and as a result of logging practices, the overall effect of these variations on statewide removals factors can be minimal. Study results can inform land managers of residues available for bioenergy uses, provide data for woody biomass life cycle analyses, and estimate removals from growing stock.

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