Rangeland Woody Plants for Bioenergy

Our current research emphasis is on the potential of using rangeland woody plants for bioenergy purposes.  The areas we are studying within this broad topic are:

  • quantifying woody plant biomass and regrowth biomass,
  • developing remote sensing techniques to estimate woody plant standing mass on large land areas
  • developing technology for gasification of woody plants (in cooperation with the engineering department at Texas A&M main campus)

We have harvested mesquite and redberry juniper regrowth of different known ages to begin developing models that determine potential rates of re-harvest.  Current estimates indicate mesquite regrowth will yield sufficient mass to be re-harvested every 10 years.

We have been working with the engineering department at Texas A&M University main campus (Dr. Annamalai) to determine gasification characteristics of mesquite and juniper wood chips.

We have also tested the operation of a newly constructed mesquite harvesting machine.  This machine is pulled by a tractor over previously felled trees and collects the wood debris in a hydraulically powered basket that can dump the material into a transport container.


Park, S.C., R.J. Ansley, M. Mirik and M.A. Maindrault. 2012. Delivered biomass costs of honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) for bioenergy uses in the south central USA. BioEnergy Research (in press).

Chen, W., K. Annamalai, R.J. Ansley and M. Mirik. 2012. Updraft fixed bed gasification of mesquite and juniper wood samples. Energy 41: 454-461.

Ansley, R.J., M. Mirik, B. Surber and S.C. Park.  2012.  Canopy area and aboveground biomass of redberry juniper (Juniperus pinchotii Sudw.) trees.  Rangeland Ecology and Management 65: 189-195.

Mirik, M., and R.J. Ansley. 2012. Comparison of ground-measured and image-classified honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) canopy cover. Rangeland Ecology and Management 65: 85-95.

Ku, N-W., S. Popescu, R.J. Ansley, and H. Perotto-Baldivieso. 2012. Assessment of available rangeland woody plant biomass with a terrestrial Lidar system. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing 78: 349-361.

Ansley, R.J., M. Mirik, and M.J. Castellano. 2010. Structural biomass partitioning in regrowth and undisturbed mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa): implications for bioenergy uses. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 2: 26-36.

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