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Potential bio-ethanol production from woody biomass feedstocks
Forests are important dendro-energy sources of raw materials in the form of woody biomass feedstock (branches, tree tips, dead trees, saw-milling residues, and other industrial residues). The aim of this research was to exemplify the lignocellulosic quantification and its potential transformation into bio-ethanol with the goal of providing management alternatives for forest residues derived from forest management practices and the industrial transformation of timber. The example was conducted for the State of Durango, Mexico; a State which contributes with most of the raw industrial timber production of Mexico. For the period of 2001-2011, results showed industrial timber is harvested with a mean (± confidence interval) of 1.4 M m3 (± 0.2 M m3). Of this volume, tree tips, branches, industrial residues, and on-site dead trees recorded an average of 0.286 (± 0.052) M m3, 0.815 (± 0.051) M m3, 0.285 (± 0.023) M m3 and 0.132 (± 0.031) M m3, respectively. These biomass feedstocks have the potential to yield a mean annual volume of 223 M L (± 18 M L) of bio-ethanol and a simple economic analysis showed its value outcompetes either the price of selling the timber or vending the industrial woody biomass residues for making particle boards. At the present, on-site dead trees represent a major untapped source of woody biomass feedstock for bio-ethanol production as well as for any other dendro-energy source in temperate forests elsewhere.