Conducts research supporting the bio-economy by sustaining nature’s benefits from working farms, ranches and forests ecosystems to achieve economic prosperity, restoration and ecological benefits. This research leverages and advances a multi-partner collaborative deploying innovative biomass and bioenergy decision support and visualization tools. The tools utilize socio-economic and biophysical drivers as well as the place-based human-environmental conditions that influence land-use and land-cover change. The Biomass Site Assessment Tools (BioSAT) research delivers decision support and web-based guided assessments for both agricultural and forestry cellulosic biomass within the 33 eastern U.S. states. It integrates transportation, harvesting, and resource cost models to provide spatially-explicit economic supply curves for user defined bio-basins. The results, organized by 5-digit ZIP Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA), helps identify least cost biomass demand centers and opportunity zones favorable for additional business case due diligence. Decision support is available at http://www.biosat.net/ . The bio-economy is defined broadly to include the flow of economically valuable goods and services that are produced by agricultural, rangeland and forest ecosystems. The motivation is to improve the likelihood of predicting how a bio-economy may alter technology, management, markets, and educational skills necessary to be successful in the business of agriculture, ranching and forestry. Key Words: …agriculture, rangeland, forestry, sustainability, restoration, biomass, bioenergy, feedstock, logistics, short rotation woody crops, ecosystem services, decision support, economic development, business development, risk management, due diligence, market organization… Through collaboration, the emphasis is to analyze, synthesize and construct knowledge, so problems are solved collectively. The approach is to link high performing graduate students with strong science and math skills with the research strengths of the Forest Service, land-grant universities, and industry to increase educational exposure, institutional diversity and research capacity. This research creates synergistic relationships and research capacity with a diverse cross-section of regional and national partnerships including academic, government, environmental, industry, business, NGOs, and communities in the South and beyond. Collaborators: The University of Tennessee; The Center for Renewable Carbon; Southeast Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS); The Southeastern Sun Grant Center; North Carolina State University; Mississippi State University; The University of Georgia; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; USDA; U.S. Department of Energy; U.S. Department of Transportation; U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and ArborGen. Active in research partnerships and teams such as: USDA & DOE – Energy and Woody Biomass Utilization Strategies; Interagency Woody Biomass Utilization Group; Feedstock Logistics Interagency Working Group; Biomass Research and Development Board; Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS); Southeastern Sun Grant Center at The University of Tennessee; Office of Bioenergy Programs at The University of Tennessee; Southern Wood to Energy Research Group; Southeastern Regional Feedstock Partnership; Woody Crops Development Team; Southern Growth Policies Board; and Southern Agriculture & Forest Energy Resources Alliance.
Develop relationships, technology, and tools that keep, restores, and enhances “working ecosystems” as part of the southern landscape. Develop decision support tools that minimize negative biophysical and socioeconomic impacts on complex socio-ecological systems. Develop a more holistic functional understanding of the processes and dynamics that affect arid ecosystems such as rangeland. Develop higher resolution regional decision support tools that identify site specific potential and delineate opportunity zones favorable to ecosystem restoration. Improve ecosystem restoration risk management by integrating economics, water, vegetation, soil/carbon, and climate benefits into decision support tools. Quantify the biophysical-socioeconomic relationships affecting ecosystem goods and services valuation and use. Improve understanding of developing ecosystem goods and services for socio-economic benefits on the biophysical functions and processes that produce them.
importance of research
Assist rural communities so they are self-sustaining, repopulating, and economically thriving. Conserve, restore, sustain and enhance the Nation’s working ecosystems. Ensure working lands are more resilient to climate change, while enhancing water resources. Provide science-based applications and decision support tools. Improve sub-county landscape characterization. Link with high performing graduate students to improve workforce recruitment prospects.
The Biomass Site Assessment Tools collaborative generated and leveraged about $1,417,851 from 2004 to 2012. 2012. Southeastern Partnership for Integrated Biomass Supply Systems (IBSS) is a collaboration of several universities, government agencies and industry partners who work on all aspects of the biofuels pipeline between the biomass feedstock and where the biofuels are produced. Sponsors: U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Collaborators: Dr. Timothy M. Young and Dr. Timothy G. Rials 2011. An economic and biophysical decision support tool useful for assessing spatially-explicit short-rotation woody crop (SRWC) production metrics. Funding: $191,083; Sponsors: USDA Forest Service Research; Collaborator: Dr. Timothy M. Young 2011. Develop GIS data layers of key spatial metrics that influence the siting of SRWC locations using Bayesian spatial logistic regression model with the BioSAT model. Funding: $62,128; Sponsors: Southeast Regional SunGrant Initiative. Collaborator: Dr. Timothy M. Young. 2011. Identify regions in the southeastern U.S. that have high potential for emerging bio-economy in the presence of high transportation flow using Bayesian inference with the BioSAT model. Funding: $60,073; Sponsors: Southeast Regional SunGrant Initiative. Collaborator: Dr. Timothy M. Young. 2010. A sub-county spatially-defined comparison of dominate environmental, economic, and societal factors impacting landscape flexibility and biomass access. Funding: $50,000; Sponsors: USDA Forest Service Research. Collaborator: Dr. Timothy M. Young. 2008. Build a spatial industrial wood to energy user’s online database; provide a state-of-the science report for current wood conversion technologies, pathways, and market sustainability. Funding: $200,000; Sponsors: U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities. Collaborator: Dr. Sam W. Jackson. 2007. Biomass Site Assessment Tools (BioSAT). Create web-accessible model to evaluate agricultural, range and forest locations for sustainable biomass and a system to compare, map, and display a variety of data and information by zip-code within the 33 eastern U.S. states. Funding: $400,000; Sponsors: USDA Forest Service Research. Collaborator: Dr. Timothy M. Young. 2007. Use Global Forest Products Model to develop protocols to incorporate demand considerations into projections of biomass cost provided by POLYSYS model. Funding: $50,000;Sponsors: USDA Forest Service Research. Collaborators: Dr. Burton C. English and Dr. Timothy G. Rials. 2007. Establish a forest supply side module that is integrated with the existing POLYSYS model framework for initial evaluation of biomass land-use changes. Funding: $150,000; Sponsors: Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Collaborators: Dr. Burton C. English and Dr. Timothy G. Rials. 2007 . Develop woody biomass feedstock cost projections for woods and process residue; and, create biomass transportation cost model. Funding: $60,000; Sponsors: Southeast Regional SunGrant Initiative. Collaborator: Dr. Timothy M. Young. 2004-2008. Bio-based Graduate Education and Research Initiative. Link high performing graduate students with strong science and math skills with the research strengths of the Forest Service, land-grant universities, and industry to increase educational exposure, cross institutional diversity and research capacity. Funding: $194,567; Sponsors: USDA Forest Service Research. Collaborator: Dr. George M. Hopper.