Selected Costs and Benefits of Protecting Vital Wildlife Habitats While Producing Biofuel
Totty, Ben  2013.  M.S. Thesis.

The objective of this study is to estimate selected costs and benefits of meeting the 2022 biofuel production mandates using switchgrass as the feedstock. This study involves the simulation of three scenarios to evaluate the cost of protecting and promoting biodiversity while producing switchgrass for biofuel. Two models are used in this study. The first, the Biofuels Facility Location Analysis Modeling Endeavor (BioFLAME), was developed at the University of Tennessee to study biorefinery location, feed stock source areas and costs associated with biofuel production. The second model was developed by the Nature Conservancy as part of Tennessee’s State Wildlife Action Plans (TN SWAP) to locate which areas of the state are the most valuable biodiversity. For this study TN SWAP was used to locate biodiversity hotspots in the state of Tennessee. Those hotspots were then included in the BioFLAME model. Three scenarios were modeled in BioFLAME. The first scenario sought only to meet a production goal of 300 million gallons per year. The second and third scenarios included regulations to protect and promote biodiversity. The regulations were applied to areas near (within 10 miles) biodiversity hotspots. The regulations in Scenario 3 were the strictest. Analysis of the results showed that applying regulations to switchgrass production increases the cost for the producers and, eventually, the cost of fuel to consumers. The results also showed that regulations forced switchgrass production away from biodiversity hotspots to areas where it could be less beneficial to biodiversity. Regulations also impacted biorefinery locations. The movement of biorefinery location increased the feedstock transportation cost and that cost would also eventually be passed on to fuel consumers.