A spatial evaluation of forest biomass usage using GIS

Tsuguki Kinoshita, Keisuke Inoue, Koki Iwao, Hiroshi Kagemoto, Yoshiki Yamagata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


We conducted a spatial evaluation of forest biomass usage using a geographic information system (GIS) for the Japanese town of Yusuhara. In Japan, over 60% of the land is covered with forest, of which at least 40% is artificial forest. However, because of high labor costs, the profitability of forestry is decreasing, so timber cultivation is not done to the extent that it could be, and thinning has to be subsidized. Under these circumstances, much of the forest is deteriorating. Most of the thinning is accounted for by throwaway thinning, in which the resulting wood is not used. However, with the steep rise in oil prices and the intensification of global warming concerns, expectations are rising for the use of biomass energy from thinned timber that has previously been discarded. If thinned timber, logging residues, and offcuts are utilized for biomass energy and their economic value becomes apparent, profitability will improve for both final cutting and thinning. And in addition to forestry activities being invigorated, it will be possible for some of the deteriorating forests (which have associated dangers such as landslides) to recover. However, using thinned timber and logging residues is problematic in that profitability is affected by harvesting costs. Harvesting costs are largely determined by geographic factors and are higher for more distant stands. Accordingly, in this article, operational costs for different stands are calculated using GIS and matched with total demand in the subject region. In addition, stands with lower operational costs are identified and an investigation of a highly feasible use of forest biomass is carried out.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Energy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan
Externally publishedYes


  • Forestry operations
  • GIS
  • Local energy
  • Woody biomass

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Energy(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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