The use of woody biomass is becoming increasingly important to each of the three major management areas of the Forest Service-National Forest System, State and Private Forestry, and Research.
The National Forest System is responsible for managing more than 150 national forests throughout the country. An important goal of forest managers is multiple use management of these forests to obtain maximum benefits for all U.S. citizens. Timber harvesting and utilization are important components of this goal, but a profusion of low-value woody biomass in many forests makes this task difficult. For instance, low-value hardwoods of poor form or from low-value species are difficult to harvest and use profitably. Yet, if these cull trees are left on the land, they interfere with the establishment and care of more desirable tree stands. The problems are much the same with softwoods killed by insects and disease in different parts of the country and mortality of trees from natural destruction such as fire, high winds, or even a volcanic eruption as on Mount St. Helens.