Conference examines woody biomass production, challenges

August 29, 2012  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A conference sponsored in part by Purdue University will address issues related to growing and harvesting hardwood trees for cellulosic biofuels.

Woody Biomass in Indiana takes place Sept. 26-27 at Clifty Falls State Park in Madison. The registration deadline is Sept. 21 and includes one- and two-day attendance options. A field tour of biomass harvesting at Southeast-Purdue Agricultural Center in Butlerville on Sept. 28 comes with both registration options.

"This conference will address the potential of both native- and plantation-grown woody biomass in the central Midwest as a source of renewable energy," said Dan Cassens, a professor of wood products in Purdue's Department of Forestry and Natural Resources and a conference organizer.

"Management techniques to maintain site quality and minimize impact on wildlife also will be discussed. The intended audience is professional and industry foresters and wildlife managers, as well as all commercial companies and policymakers who are interested in renewable energy sources."

Those attending on Sept. 26 can choose from two half-day concurrent conference tracks. A "Managing Central Hardwoods for Biomass Harvesting" track includes sessions on best management practices, forest management, harvesting impacts and Southeast-Purdue biomass research projects. An "Impact of Woody Biomass Harvesting on Wildlife Management" track will address ecological sustainability biomass harvesting, coarse woody debris in managed and unmanaged forests, public perceptions of woody biomass harvesting and the Southeast-Purdue biomass harvesting project. Both tracks include dinner and a reception.

The Sept. 27 program runs from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and covers such topics as "Why Use Woody Biomass and Developments in the Central States," "Economics and Policy Issues Related to Cellulosic Biofuels," "Technology for Harvesting and Processing Woody Biomass," "Urban Trees for Mulch and Energy," "Biodiversity Impacts of Biomass Harvesting" and "Poplar Plantations as Woody Biomass - Indiana Experience." A buffet lunch is included.

Speakers both days are specialists from Purdue, Michigan Technological University and the universities of Connecticut and Missouri; representatives of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry and the U.S. Forest Service; and professionals from the forestry and energy industries.

The field tour features logging and biomass harvesting demonstrations by Werner Logging of Jasper. Werner harvests veneer and saw logs, produces whole tree chips for boiler fuel and is one of the few companies that has integrated the removal of scragg logs for pallet parts and clean chips for pulp.

Conference registration is $90 per person if attending both Sept. 26 and 27, or $75 if attending Sept. 27 only. To register or for more information, call toll-free 1-888-398-4636 or log onto

Those attending are eligible for professional CFE credits.

Clifty Falls State Park is northwest of Madison on Indiana 62. Southeast-Purdue is at 4425 E. County Road 350 North in Jennings County.

Other conference sponsors are the Indiana Society of American Foresters and Indiana Wildlife Society, in cooperation with the Indiana Biomass Energy Working Group, Renewable Resources Extension Act, the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center and the Indiana Hardwood Lumbermen's Association.

Writer: Steve Leer, 765-494-8415,

Source: Dan Cassens, 765-494-3644,

Related websites:
Purdue University Department of Forestry and Natural Resources:

Indiana Department of Natural Resources - Clifty Falls State Park:

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Keith Robinson,
Agriculture News Page

Purdue University, 610 Purdue Mall, West Lafayette, IN 47907, (765) 494-4600

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