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Abstract

A significant amount of the forestland in Montana is in need of mechanical forest restoration treatments, which can improve forest health and reduce wildfire risk, but can be expensive to implement and produce little merchantable timber. One option for disposal of the small diameter material produced by these treatments is to utilize it to produce energy, which can offset some fossil fuel use and facilitate the treatment of more acres of forest. However the harvest and utilization of woody biomass for energy generation can have negative effects on air quality and forest health as well. This study used a choice modeling nonmarket valuation survey to quantify the preferences of residents of Montana toward the potential effects of harvesting woody biomass from public forests during restoration treatments and utilizing the biomass to generate energy.

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