Woody Biomass Processing and Rural Regional Development

Randall W. Jackson, Amir Borges Ferreira Neto, Elham Erfanian, Péter Járosi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The authors report on the economic impacts of introducing woody biomass processing in an economically distressed, but heavily forested Central Appalachian U.S. region. Woody biomass is a readily available unconventional energy source that has the potential to boost the rural region’s economy. They use a static regional computable general equilibrium model to assess long-run economic impacts of two woody biomass processing production pathways of biomass to ethanol through fermentation and biomass to biofuel through fast pyrolysis. While the 232 to 370 jobs and $13 million to $21 million income might seem small relative to the multicounty region, the localized impact on the county in which the facility would be sited, even for the direct jobs and income impacts, would be much more substantial. The authors conclude that woody biomass processing is a viable economic development option for the study area and similar rural regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)234-247
Number of pages14
JournalEconomic Development Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This material is based on work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2012-67009-19660.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.


  • central Appalachia
  • computable general equilibrium models
  • rural economic development
  • woody biomass processing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Urban Studies


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