Got Nature? Blog

Woody Biomass Harvesting videoBiomass harvesting refers to harvesting where more woody material is gathered than in a traditional sawtimber harvesting. Material down to four inches in diameter is harvested along with large trees for veneer logs and saw logs. Small trees and tops are chipped and used for paper pulp and boiler fuel.

During October of 2012, a biomass harvesting project was started by harvesting a 100 acre tract of hardwood timber at the Southeastern Purdue Ag Center (SEPAC). The tract was divided into several treatment areas demonstrating various forms of harvesting including traditional clearcutting, biomass harvesting, and areas left uncut. The goal of this project was twofold: to determine the volume and value of the products produced using biomass harvesting compared to the traditional methods, and to gain a more thorough understanding of what happens to a harvest site following biomass harvesting when restoration practices are used.

The harvest site has experienced a rapid recovery of new vegetation. Forbs, shrubs, tree seedlings, and sprouts densely covered the ground and began providing new wildlife habitats and the beginnings of a new diverse forest area.

The new Extension video “Woody Biomass Harvesting at Purdue University” explores this process in further depth, showing the harvest as well as the aftermath and regrowth. It also introduces a Purdue Extension – FNR developed web application called the Woody Biomass Calculator. This calculator can be used by landowners, foresters, and wood products harvesters and managers to estimate the volume and value of several different wood product groups and tree species, including woody biomass. Before harvesting, consider using this tool to evaluate if biomass harvesting is a better choice than traditional sawtimber harvesting for you.

Resources: 
Woody Biomass Harvesting at Purdue University – Studying the Advantage Over Traditional Harvesting – Purdue Extension
Woody Biomass Calculator – Purdue Extension – FNR
Harvesting Biomass: A Guide to Best Management Practices – IDNR Division of Forestry
Woody Biomass Feedstock for the Bioenergy and Bioproducts Industries – IDNR Division of Forestry
IN Wood Industry Facts – Purdue FNR Wood Research Laboratory

Lenny Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources


Forests and woodlots are constantly changing. To get the most out of your property to meet your wildlife, recreational, aesthetic or economic goals, some type of regular management will be necessary. Getting the most out of your woods can be a challenge on your own. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you.

A professional can help plot the best course of action for meeting your ownership objectives while keeping your woods healthy. Your selection of a professional depends on what services you need and the size of your property. Ten (10) acres is a threshold for where you go in Indiana.

More than 10 acres

  • The Directory of Professional Foresters is a service provided by the Indiana Forestry & Woodland Owners Association. For this directory, the term “professional forester” means a person who has successfully completed a four year college level curriculum accredited by the Society of American Foresters and has received a Bachelor’s Degree in Forestry from that accredited institution.
  • The Indiana DNR Division of Forestry provides private forestland management assistance through District Foresters who are professionally trained to manage forestland for the many resources it can provide. District foresters administer both state and federal programs that provide technical assistance, property tax incentives, and cost-sharing incentives for applying practices that accomplish sustainable management.
  • Foresters can help answer some of your tax questions. The National Timber Tax Website is another good resource. The National Timber Tax Website was developed to be used by timberland owners, as well as a reference for accountants, attorneys, consulting foresters and other professionals who work with timberland owners regarding the tax treatment of timber related activities.

Less than 10 acres and Backyards

  • The Indiana Division of Forestry has a woodlot owner series that provides basic information for anyone who owns a small woodlot or backyard woods.
  • Because of the scale of operation, it can be difficult to get professional services from a forester for small woodlots. In most cases, tree harvests and other improvement cuts are set up directly with loggers. The Indiana Hardwood Lumberman’s Association has a Find a Logger database online.

Selling Timber

Selling timber from yards or small tracts of woodland present some challenges.

Get connected with other Indiana landowners!

Woodland owners often learn the most from people who are in their situation – fellow woodland owners. Several groups provide different ways to connect and have different resources. Explore the following to find out which group(s) fits your needs.


Got Nature?

Recent Posts

Archives