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Rural Economic Development

Economic, social and environmental assessments have been completed to help spur biorefinery development.

Sustainability is the crucial attribute if an emerging biofuels industry is to develop and enhance our rural economy. The NARA project is assessing sustainability using a triple bottom line approach to assess economic viability (techno-economic analysis (TEA)), environmental impact (life cycle assessment (LCA)), and social impact (community impact analysis – CIA)). In addition to developing these three primary analytical tools, additional primary data is being collected to include social and market data through the Environmentally Preferred Products (EPP) team and additional environmental impact data through the Sustainable Production Team.

NARA work has resulted in:

stakeholder survey data to assess perceptions, drivers, and readiness to using forest harvest residuals to produce biojet fuel and co-products.

Results: Most survey participants showed a high level of support in general for biomass activities in their region. There was, however, statistically significant differences between support for various forms of feedstock by stakeholder groups.

life cycle assessments that compare the carbon impact of biojet fuel, activated carbon and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) made from forest harvest residuals to similar products made from petroleum.

Results: The avoided environmental impacts, derived from multiple logistics scenarios, to produce bio-jet fuel rather than burning them in slash piles are substantial. The overall global warming potential of the NARA bio-jet fuel, measured in kilograms of CO2 emissions, ranges from between 70% to 70% lower than petroleum fuel-based jet fuel.

a review of biofuels policies and of environmental-based preferred purchasing programs.

Results: State renewable portfolio standard (RSP) designs across the United States are diverse. Accounting for the variety of design characteristics and accurately specifying the policy outcomes in evaluations is an area in need of improvement.

air and water quality assessments that show the effects of using forest harvest residuals as feedstock for biojet fuel and co-product production.

Results: Modeled results indicate that prescribed burning emissions cause significantly higher PM2.5 concentrations in certain parts of the Pacific Northwest and reducing the amount of biomass burned by 70% leads to a significant reduction in simulated PM2.5 concentrations within the areas where prescribed fires occur. Water quality data is currently being evaluated.

soil nutrient, moisture, and temperature assessments resulting from forest harvest residual removal.

Results: Results from the Long-Term Soil Productivity experiment show that after Year-2 of forest residual removal there is no apparent change in soil carbon pool concentration; however, soil temperatures and respiration were affected. Ageing forest harvest residues in the field promotes needle drop, increases sugar yield for aviation fuel production, and reduces transport costs and emissions.

wildlife and soil microbial community assessments resulting from forest residual removal.

Results: Preliminary research shows no affect on soil microbial communities. Long-term experiments investigating other wildlife users are underway and have not yielded conclusive results to date.

employment and economic activity assessments resulting from a forest residual-to-biojet fuel industry based in the Pacific Northwest.

Results: Preliminary results indicate that a biorefinery in the Pacific Northwest would produce revenue of $327 million and create 2,171-2,389 total jobs.  This would result in $732-$764 million in industrial output including $277-$295 million in value added through direct, indirect and induced economic effects.

Life cycle assessment

This video describes a life cycle assessment as a tool to measure the greenhouse gas emissions of biojet fuel made from forest residuals.


Peer reviewed papers

Carbon Storage and Nutrient Mobilization from Soil Minerals by Deep Roots and Rhizospheres

Callesen, I., Harrison, R., Stupak, I., Hatten, J., Raulund-Rasmussen, K., Boyle, J., Clarke, N. & Zabowski, D. (2016). Carbon storage and nutrient mobilization from soil minerals by deep roots and rhizospheres. Forest Ecology and Management, 359, 322-331. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2015.08.019

U.S. Biofuels Industry: A Critical Review of Opportunities and Challenges

Chen, M., Smith, P.M., & Wolcott, M.P. (2016). U.S. biofuels industry: a critical review of opportunities and challenges. BioProducts Business, 1(4), 42-59.

Nitrogen Leaching Following Whole-Tree and Bole-Only Harvests on Two Contrasting Pacific Northwest Sites

Devine, W.D., Footen, P.A., Strahm, B.D., Harrison, R.B., Terry, T.A., & Harrington T.B. (2012). Nitrogen leaching following whole-tree and bole-only harvests on two contrasting Pacific Northwest sites. For. Ecol. Mgt., 267, 7-17. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2011.11.043

Revisiting Renewable Portfolio Standard Effectiveness: Policy Design and Outcome Specification Matter

Fischlein, M. & Smith, T. (2013). Revisiting renewable portfolio standard effectiveness: policy design and outcome specification matter. Policy Sciences, 46(3), 277-310. doi:10.1007/s11077-013-9175-0.

Understanding the Consequences of Land Use Changes on Sustainable River Basin Management in the Pacific Northwest, USA

Hasan, M.M., Barber, M.E., Goel, R., & Mahler, R.L. (2015). Understanding the consequences of land use changes on sustainable river basin management in the Pacific Northwest, USA. WIT Transactions on Ecology and The Environment, 197, 25-35. ISSN 1743-3541.

Predicting Risk of Long-Term Nitrogen Depletion under Whole-Tree Harvesting in the Coastal Pacific Northwest

Himes, A.J., Turnblom, E.C., Harrison, R.B., Littke, K.M., Devine, W.D., Zabowski, D, & Briggs, D.G. (2013). Predicting risk of long-term nitrogen depletion under whole-tree harvesting in the coastal Pacific Northwest. Forest Science, 60(2), 382-390. doi:10.5849/forsci.13-009

Deep Soil: Quantification, Modeling, and Significance of Subsurface Nitrogen

James, J., Knight, E., Gamba, V., & Harrison, R. (2015). Deep soil: quantification, modeling, and significance of subsurface nitrogen. Forest Ecology and Management, 336,194-202. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.10.010

Exchangeable Cations in Deep Forest Soils: Separating Climate and Chemical Controls on Vertical Distribution and Cycling

James, J., Littke, K., Bonassi, T. & Harrison, R. (2016). Exchangeable cations in deep forest soils: separating climate and chemical controls on vertical distribution and cycling. Geoderma, 279(1),109-121.  doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2016.05.022

Current Status, Uncertainty and Future Needs in Soil Organic Carbon Monitoring

Jandl, R., Rodeghiero, M., Martinez, C., Cotrufo, F.M., Bampa, F., van Wesemael, B., Lorenz, K., Chabbi, A.,  & Miglietta, F. (2014). Current status, uncertainty and future needs in soil organic carbon monitoring. Science of the Total Environment, 468-469, 376-383. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.08.026

Determining the Effects of Biogeoclimatic Properties on Different Site Index Systems of Douglas-fir in the Coastal Pacific Northwest

Littke, K. M., Harrison, R.B. & Zabowski, D. (2016). Determining the effects of biogeoclimatic properties on different site index systems of Douglas-fir in the coastal Pacific Northwest. Forest Science. Advanced online publication. doi:

Assessing Nitrogen Fertilizer Response of Coastal Douglas-fir in the Pacific Northwest Using a Paired-Tree Experimental Design

Littke, K.M., Harrison, R.B., Zabowski, D., & Briggs, D.G. (2014). Assessing nitrogen fertilizer response of coastal Douglas-fir in the Pacific Northwest using a paired-tree experimental design. Forest Ecology and Management, 330, 137-143. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.07.008

Effects of Geoclimatic Factors on Soil Water, Nitrogen, and Foliar Properties of Douglas-fir Plantations in the Pacific Northwest

Littke, K.M., Harrison, R.B., Zabowski, D., Briggs, D.G., & Maguire, D.A. (2014). Effects of geoclimatic factors on soil water, nitrogen, and foliar properties of Douglas-fir plantations in the Pacific Northwest. Forest Science, 60(6), 1118-1130. doi:

Environmental Assessment of Mild Bisulfite Pretreatment of Forest Residues into Fermentable Sugars for Biofuel Production

Nwaneshiudu, C., Ganguly, I., Pierobon, F., Bowers, T. & Eastin, I. (2016). Environmental assessment of mild bisulfite pretreatment of forest residues into fermentable sugars for biofuel production. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 9(15). doi: 10.1186/s13068-016-0433-1

Hotspot Scenario Analysis: Comparative Streamlined LCA Approaches for Green Supply Chain and Procurement Decision Making

Pelton, R.E.O. & Smith T.M. (2015). Hotspot scenario analysis: comparative streamlined LCA approaches for green supply chain and procurement decision making. Journal of Industrial Ecology. 19(3), 427-440

Evaluation of Environmental Impacts of Harvest Residue-based Bioenergy Using Radiative Forcing Framework

Pierobon, F., Ganguly, I., Anfodillo, T., & Eastin, I. (2014). Evaluation of Environmental Impacts of Harvest Residue-based Bioenergy Using Radiative Forcing Framework. Forestry Chronicle, 90(5), 577-585. doi: 10.5558/tfc2014-120

Managing Moist Temperate Forests for Bioenergy and Biodiversity

Root, H. & Betts M.G. (2016). Managing moist temperate forests for bioenergy and biodiversity. Journal of Forestry, 114(1), 66-74. doi:

A Survey of Bioenergy Research in Forest Service Research and Development

Rudie, A.W., Houtman, C.J., Groom, L.H., Nicholls, D.L. & Zhu, J.Y. (2016). A survey of bioenergy research in forest service research and development. Bioeng Res., 9, 534-547. doi 10.1007/s12155-016-9731-5

Pricing Forest Biomass for Power Generation

Sessions, J., Tuers, K., Boston, K., & Zamora, R. (2013). Pricing forest biomass for power generation. West J. of Applied Forestry, 28(2), 51-56.

The Effects of Urea Fertilization on Carbon Sequestration on Douglas-fir Plantations of the Costal Pacific Northwest

Shryock, B., Littke, K., Ciol, M., Briggs, D., & Harrison, R. (2014). The effects of urea fertilization on carbon sequestration on Douglas-fir plantations of the costal Pacific Northwest. Forest Ecology and Management, 318, 341-348. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2014.01.040

Non-peer reviewed articles

Redefining Renewable Biomass: A Policy Change with Cascading Outcomes

Moore-Drougas, K.E., Schwartz, D.T., James, L & Durglo, J. (2016). Redefining renewable biomass: A policy change with cascading outcomes. Brookings Blog Post, March 29, 2016. Retrieved from

Environmental Assessments of Woody Biomass Based Jet-Fuel

Ganguly, I., Eastin, I.L., Bowers, T., Huisenga, M., & Pierobon, F. (2014, Winter). Environmental assessments of woody biomass based jet-fuel. Cintrafor News. Retrieved from

Managing for Long-Term Soil Productivity in Pacific Northwestern Forests

Harrington, T.B. & Holub S.M. (2014, Summer). Managing for long-term soil productivity in Pacific Northwestern forests. Western Forester. 59(3), 1-4. Retrieved from

Estimating Tree Biomass, Carbon, and Nitrogen in Two Vegetation Control Treatments in an 11-Year Old Douglas-Fir Plantation on a Highly Productive Site

Devine, W.D., Footen, P.A., Harrison, R.B., Terry, T.A., Harrington, C.A., Holub, S.M.,  & Gould, P.J. (2013). Estimating tree biomass, carbon, and nitrogen in two vegetation control in an 11-year old Douglas-fir plantation on a highly productive site. United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Research Paper PNW-RP-591.

Book chapters

United States Law and Policy and the Biofuel Industry

Dahmann, K.S., Fowler, L.B. & Smith, P.M. (2016).  United States law and policy and the biofuel industry. In Y.L. Bouthillier, A. Cowie, P. Martin, & H. McLeod-Kilmurray (Eds.), Law and Policy of Biofuels (pp. 102-140). Northampton, MA., USA: Edward Elgar Pub. Inc. doi:10.4337/9781782544555

Implementing Sustainability in the Global Sector: Toward the Convergence of Public and Private Forest Policy

Smith, T.M., Murillo, S.A.M., Anderson, B.M. (2014). Implementing Sustainability in the Global Sector: Toward the Convergence of Public and Private Forest Policy. In E. Hansen, R. Panwar, R. Vlosky (Eds.), The Global Forest Sector: Changes, Practices, and Prospects (pp. 237-258). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press


The Effects of Increased Supply and Emerging Technologies in the Forest Products Industry on Rural Communities in the Northwest U.S.

Crandall, M.S. (2014). The effects of increased supply and emerging technologies in the forest products industry on rural communities in the Northwest U.S. Ph.D Thesis, Oregon State University.

The Effects of Biogeoclimatic Properties on Water and Nitrogen Availability and Douglas-Fir Growth and Fertilizer Response in the Pacific Northwest

Hanft, K.I. (2012). The effects of biogeoclimatic properties on water and nitrogen availability and Douglas-fir growth and fertilizer response in the Pacific Northwest. Ph.D Thesis, University of Washington

Evaluating the Environmental Impact of Woody Biomass Removal for Biofuel Production

Hasan, M.M. (2015). Evaluating the environmental impact of woody biomass removal for biofuel production. M.Sc. Thesis, The University of Utah.

Successional Accretion Along a Productivity Gradient Following Fire Exclusion in the Southern Blue Mountains

Johnston, J. (2016). Successional accretion along a productivity gradient following fire exclusion in the southern Blue Mountains. PhD. thesis, Oregon State University.

Harvest Intensity and Competing Vegetation Control Have Little Effect on Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Pools in a Pacific Northwest Douglas-fir Plantation.

Knight, E. (2013). Harvest intensity and competing vegetation control have little effect on soil carbon and nitrogen pools in a Pacific Northwest Douglas-fir plantation. M.Sc Thesis, University of Washington

Barking Up the Right Tree: A Social Assessment of Wood to Liquid Biofuels Stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest

Moroney, J. (2015).  Barking Up the Right Tree: A Social Assessment of Wood to Liquid Biofuels Stakeholders in the Pacific Northwest. Ph.D Thesis, University of Idaho.

Douglas-Fir Stump Decomposition: Modeling Carbon Residence Times

Norton, M. (2015). Douglas-fir stump decomposition: modeling carbon residence times. M.Sc. Thesis, University of Washington.

The Effects of Grain Size Heterogeneity on Sediment Transport Modeling

Wickham, R.S. (2015) The effects of grain size heterogeneity on sediment transport modeling. M.Sc. Thesis, Washington State University