Biomass Inventory Mapping and Analysis Tool

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Interest in biomass has increased dramatically over the last 10 years as people seek out renewable resources to substitute for petroleum-based and other non-renewable materials used for fuel and in industrial processes. The majority of biomass is found in rural areas, and as such the bio-economy has the potential to provide much-needed diversification of the rural economy. The headlines often tout biomass as an alternative to oil, and while this has potential, it can also be used as input into consumer products such as linens and construction materials.


Table of Contents

Overview of Biomass and BIMAT

Biomass and the bio-based economy

The term biomass refers to living and recently living biological material which can be used as fuel or for industrial production, and commonly refers to plant matter grown for use as bio-fuel. But biomass also includes plant or animal matter used as inputs into the wider bio-based economy.

The term bio-based economy refers to an economy derived from applying the advances in science and innovation to the biology of plants, animals and micro-organisms to develop new bio-products. Since bio-products can be generated from a variety of renewable resources, they represent sustainable sources of power and energy, transportation fuels, chemicals and materials. Bio-products can also support growth of the rural economy by providing employment opportunities to grow and harvest biomass feedstocks, as well as refining the feedstocks into bio-products.

Sources of biomass

Biomass is generally considered to be available from two sources: opportunity and purpose-grown. The major opportunity biomass sources in Canada are:

  • Agricultural residue, such as straw and corn stover
  • Woody material resulting from insect and disease attacks, major forest fires, timber harvesting operations and wood processing operations

Purpose-grown sources of biomass are crops grown with the sole intent of supplying material to the bio-products or bio-energy industry. Examples of purpose-grown biomass include switch grass and hybrid poplar or willow plantations. When combined, Canada's agricultural and forestry biomass inventories can diversify feedstocks and reduce the risk of supply problems for the bio-industry from crop failure or tree loss to pests or fire.

Mapping biomass availability

To properly develop, the bio-economy requires accurate and reliable information on biomass feedstock supply, production and harvesting costs, and environmental impacts. To succeed, bio-energy and bio-based production systems require a reliable supply of biomass. However, it is not enough to know what type and how much biomass is available—it is also crucial to understand where it is available.

Purpose

BIMAT includes data about the location of both leftover material from agricultural and forestry industries (residues) and agricultural crops that are used as feedstock by bioindustries. BIMAT allows users to view biomass supply and location information in two ways:

  • By displaying maps that show the availability of a specific type of biomass.
  • By creating a database query that generates information about the location and available amount of one or more types of biomass.

The availability maps allow users to select areas to explore. The query allows users to generate more specific information: how much biomass is found within a given distance of a location they specify, or how large an area is required to supply a location with a specified quantity of biomass.

At the user’s request, BIMAT can also estimate the cost of harvesting and transporting the agricultural residues from the areas identified in the query result to the specified location. In addition, users can add biomass inventory information that estimates availability based on 1-in-10 year low and 1-in-20 year low production levels.

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Creating your First Biomass Inventory Mapping and Analysis Tool (BIMAT) Report

Step 1: Navigate to an area of interest

In this case, because it costs more to transport straw (the raw material) than ethanol (the product), the initial search is for a location that is close to the straw supply rather than the refinery that consumes the ethanol.

Use the BIMAT availability maps to locate an area where feedstock is plentiful.

  1. In your web browser, open BIMAT
  2. In the toolbar, select Contents.
  3. Expand and select the BIMAT, Agriculture and Wheat items.
  4. Select Available Wheat Straw Less Cattle Usage.
  5. In the toolbar, select Legend.
    The legend shows that the dark brown areas of the map have the highest yield of straw.
  6. Some map reference features are harder to see when the availability map is displayed.
    To make the availability map transparent, select Contents. For the BIMAT tree item, select the small arrow on the right side of the dialog box and then select Set opacity. Use the slider button to make the BIMAT availability map more transparent (for example, set it to 65).
  7. In this example, the ethanol producer knows that Regina has a refinery that can use the ethanol. The map shows that the area adjacent to the city produces a plentiful supply of straw.
    In the search tool in the top-right corner of the map, enter Regina.
  8. Use the map navigation controls to create a view that includes Regina and the area just north of the city.

Step 2: Create a biomass inventory report

  1. In the toolbar, select Calculate biomass.
  2. In the Biomass Inventory Calculation dialog box, for Calculation Type, select Calculate the area required to satisfy the specified demand for biomass. Enter 100 000 in the "t" (tonnes) field.
  3. Under Analysis Location, select Place Point on Map. Select a point northwest of the city near where the power line and highway meet.
    The application labels the point that you select.
  4. Under Agricultural Biomass, for Wheat, select Straw/Stover.
    For other scenarios, you can also select multiple types of crop residues and crops.
  5. For Participation Rate, for Straw/Stover, select 25%.
    This is the proportion of all available material that you expect to acquire from wheat straw suppliers. For this report, the percentage is low because the producer wants to determine whether the plant is feasible even if it can obtain only a small portion of the available wheat straw.
  6. Because the producer has learned that there is demand for cattle straw at this location, select Competing Use.
  7. For Tillage Type, select Current State, which is the default.
    The tillage type adjusts the calculation to account for residue that is left behind to discourage erosion and is thus not available for industry. Current state calculates an adjustment based on the proportion of zero and conventional tillage currently in use.
  8. For Forestry Biomass, use the default value, which is none selected.
    The plant in our example does not process wood residue.
  9. Select Calculate and Display Results.
    BIMAT calculates the amount of biomass and displays the report.
    The application highlights the area calculated by the report on the map. Using the map navigation controls, adjust the view to display the entire area.
    The report summarizes the parameters that you selected and calculated values, including:
    • The area required to supply the specified amount in an average production year. That is, the total area of the cells in the BIMAT grid that have been selected. (BIMAT does not calculate the area within the selected area that is specifically used for growing crops.)
    • The coordinates of the location you selected.
    • Agricultural Biomass Total – For calculations for more than one type of agricultural crop (for example, both straw and stover and grains), a total of all amounts.
    • Biomass Grand Total – For calculations for both agricultural and forestry biomass inventories, the total amount of biomass available.
    This information is useful for determining the feasibility of the ethanol plant at the specified location. For example, the producer can estimate whether an adequate supply of wheat straw is available within the reach of an affordable trucking route.
  10. Keep the Calculate Biomass Inventory dialog box open to prepare for the next step in the tutorial.
    If you close the Calculate Biomass Inventory dialog box, BIMAT deletes all calculation results. If you select the “x” on a calculation results tab (for example, the Site 1 tabs), BIMAT deletes that calculation result only.

Step 3: Create a report for an additional site

BIMAT allows you to create additional sites in order to compare biomass availability at multiple locations.

  1. Using the search tool and the map navigation controls, adjust the view to display to the area surrounding Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
  2. In the Calculate Biomass Inventory dialog box, select the Input tab.
  3. Select Place Point On Map, and then select a location south-west of the city near where the highway and a power line meet.
  4. Select Calculate and Display Results.
    When the calculation is complete, BIMAT highlights the calculated area on the map. The application adds a tab to the calculation dialog box for the second location.
    Keep the calculation dialog box open to prepare for the next step in the tutorial.

Step 4: Add variability and cost information to a calculation

BIMAT can also calculate the availability of agricultural residue based on 10-year and 20-year lows in production. In addition, it can estimate the cost to harvest and transport the residues in dollars, energy input and carbon dioxide emissions.

  1. In the Calculate Biomass Inventory dialog box, select the Input tab.
    By default, BIMAT uses the previous location that you selected for the calculation.
  2. Under Additional Report Parameters, select Variability information for agricultural material and Include straw/stover harvest and transportation costs.
  3. Select Calculate.
    BIMAT calculates inventory information for the Prince Albert site again but adds additional information.

Step 5: Print and export the report results

BIMAT can generate printed versions of the calculation results by creating portable document format (PDF) files. Printed reports include a map and the results for each the current sites. You can also specify a custom title for the printed report.

You can also download the report results to your computer as a shapefile format file. This format allows you to analyze the report results in your own GIS software or share it with others.

The shapefile is a representation of the area used to calculate the biomass inventory, but it does not include the underlying inventory data.

  1. Select Save Report(s) to PDF.
  2. Enter an optional title and then select OK.
    BIMAT generates the PDF and displays it in a new browser window. Use Adobe Reader options to print or save the file.
  3. To download a calculation area, on a result tab (for example, Site 1) select Download Shapefile.
    BIMAT downloads the shapefile in ZIP archive file format. The archive includes an end-user license agreement that describes the terms under which you can use the file.

You have completed the steps for the ethanol plant example. Use the steps you learned and the following example to further explore BIMAT features.

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Map Navigation

Zoom Controls

The zoom controls in the top-left corner of the map area have up and down arrows and a slider control that you can use to adjust the scale of the current view. A great shortcut is SHIFT + Drag to select an area to zoom in to.

The Home button Return to map's starting extent returns the user to the map's starting extent.

Mouse Pan and Zoom Controls

  • Scroll backward to zoom out
  • Scroll forward to zoom in
  • To zoom in to a location and make it the centre, double-click the location
  • To change the centre of the map, hold SHIFT and single click on screen to select the new centre location
  • Click and hold down button on screen and drag the mouse to pan
  • SHIFT + Drag to draw a zoom box to a specific location
  • SHIFT + CTRL + Drag to zoom out

Keyboard Pan and Zoom Controls

  • Use arrow keys to pan
  • Use + (plus) key to zoom in a level
  • Use - (minus) key to zoom out a level

Overview Map

The overview map is located in the bottom right corner of the map area and displays the current view location as a grey rectangle within the larger view.

  • To open the overview map, select the arrow icon Show map overview in the lower right-hand corner of the map.
  • You can adjust the current view by dragging the grey rectangle to a new location.
  • To close the overview map, select the arrow icon Hide map overview in the upper left-hand corner of the overview map.

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Toolbar Options

Legend

Select Show map legend to display descriptions of the current map features. Only the Map Layers that are active in the Contents Tab will be shown in the Legend.

Add data

Use Add data to map to add custom map features via a web service or Shapefile.

  1. Select Add data.
  2. Select the source for the feature:
    • ArcGIS Server Web Service: A GIS resource such as a map, globe, locator or geodatabase connection that is located on an ArcGIS Server and available to client applications.
    • Shapefile (Zip file): A vector data storage format developed and regulated by Esri for storing the location, shape, and attributes of geographic features. To import a Shapefile, it must be saved in ZIP archive file format.
    • CSV file: Spreadsheet data in a CSV or TXT file that includes coordinate information. To add this data as a feature layer, the file must include coordinate fields that are supported by the ESRI's CSV and TXT file import functionality.
  3. Do one of the following:
  4. Click Add data to map.

    The data is added to the Feature Layers list in the Contents dialog box. Use the Feature Layers list to manage and remove the data that you added.

Add Data window

Contents

Select Manage contents of map and view metadata to turn on or off layers currently in the map, change the opacity or order of displayed data, or view metadata.

Features Layers are selectable layers that are displayed on top of Map Layers. If a Feature layer has an associated Map layer, the Feature Layer may be unselected but the Map layer is still visible. Turn off both the Map Layer and the Feature Layer to remove it completely from the map display.

Map Layers are images that cannot be selected and must be displayed below Feature Layers. Turning off a Map Layer without turning off its corresponding Feature Layer, if it exists, will still allow the Features to be selected even if the layer is not visible.

Layer Options

Some layers will have options available to modify how the layers are displayed or view information about the layers. You can find the layer options by clicking on the arrow Display layer options menu beside the Layer name.

  • Move Up: Items can be moved up or down to change the display order
  • Move Down: Items can be moved up or down to change the display order
  • Remove: You can remove data by selecting remove.
  • Set Opacity: Opacity can be set from 0 to 100% using the slide control. 0% opacity is transparent.
  • Time Slider: Opens a window which provides controls that allow the visualization of temporal data.
  • View Metadata: Information, such as source, year, etc., about the Map Layers can also be found in this area.

Keyboard Navigation

This window's functionality is also available via the keyboard:

  1. Tab to the Contents list itself;
  2. Use the arrow keys to highlight a layer;
  3. Press "ENTER" to toggle the layer on/off in the map; or,
  4. Press '>' (Shift-'.' on a standard US keyboard) to open the "Layer Options". Use the arrow keys to make a selection in the context-sensitive menu.

BIMAT uses a grid of 10-kilometer x 10-kilometer areas to represent the forested and agricultural land of Canada. Each map provides specific biomass inventory information for each area.

Agriculture

Wheat, Barley, Oat

  • Seed Yield: Displays the estimated average amount of grain produced for each hectare in an area.
  • Seed Production: Displays the estimated average amount of grain produced in an area each year.
  • Straw Yield (Oven Dried Tonnes per Hectare): Displays the estimated average amount of straw produced for each hectare in an area.
  • Available Straw (Oven Dried Tonnes): Displays the estimated amount of straw produced in an area each year.
  • Available Straw Less Cattle Usage (Oven Dried Tonnes): Displays the estimated amount of straw produced in an area that is adjusted for the demand for straw that is used as cattle feed and bedding.

Flax

  • Seed Yield: Displays the estimated average amount of seed produced for each hectare in an area.
  • Seed Production: Displays the estimated average amount of seed produced for each in an area each year.
  • Straw Yield (Oven Dried Tonnes per Hectare): Displays the estimated average amount of straw produced for each hectare in an area.
  • Available Straw (Oven Dried Tonnes): Displays the estimated amount of straw produced in an area each year.

Corn

  • Seed Yield: Displays the estimated average amount of seed produced for each hectare in an area.
  • Seed Production: Displays the estimated average amount of seed produced for each in an area each year.
  • Stover Yield (Oven Dried Tonnes per Hectare): Displays the estimated average amount of stover produced for each hectare in an area. (Stover is the dried stalks and leaves that remain after the corn is harvested.)
  • Available Stover (Oven Dried Tonnes): Displays the estimated amount of stover produced in an area each year.

Canola, Soy Bean

  • Seed Yield: Displays the estimated average amount of seed produced for each hectare in an area.
  • Seed Production: Displays the estimated average amount of seed produced for each in an area each year.

Other

  • Straw Quantity Required for Cattle (Oven Dried Tonnes): Displays the estimated amount of straw that is used for cattle feed and bedding each year in an area.
  • Proportion of Area Under Zero Tillage (%): Displays the percentage of the area that is prepared for growing crops without turning the soil (for example, by plowing or harrowing). (No-till systems are also called conservation systems.)
Forestry

Mill Residue

  • Hardwood: Displays the estimated amount of hardwood residues generated by mills (for example, pulp, paper or lumber) in an area each year in oven dried tonnes.
  • Softwood: Displays the estimated amount of softwood residues generated by mills (for example, pulp, paper or lumber) in an area each year in oven dried tonnes.

Roadside Harvest Residue

  • Hardwood: Displays the estimated amount of hardwood residues that accumulate in an area each year at the roadside landings used by commercial forestry operations, in oven dried tonnes.
  • Softwood: Displays the estimated amount of softwood residues that accumulate in an area each year at the roadside landings used by commercial forestry operations, in oven dried tonnes.

Projected Plantation Volume

  • Hybrid Poplar: Displays an estimated annual biomass yield in oven dried tonnes if a hybrid poplar plantation was established in the area.
  • Willow: Displays an estimated annual biomass yield in oven dried tonnes if a willow plantation was established in the area.

Other

  • Total Forested Area: Displays the estimated amount of area within a BIMAT area that is covered by forest in hectares.
  • Urban Wood Waste: Displays the estimated amount of wood waste in an area in over dried tonnes that is produced by an urban centre each year. Calculated using waste from urban centres with a population of more than 1,000 people only.
Land Suitability
  • Hybrid Poplar: Displays an estimate of how suitable an area is for growing hybrid poplar for biomass production.
  • Willow: Displays an estimate of how suitable an area is for growing willow for biomass production.
Land Cover
  • Land Cover: Displays vegetation and land cover information for the entire Canadian landmass, derived from satellite imagery.
    • Mixed Forest: canopy 26-75% coniferous/broadleaf tree
    • Broadleaf Forest: canopy > 75% broadleaf trees
    • Transitional Forest: forest land %3C 50% of the area
    • Coniferous Forest: canopy > 75% coniferous trees
    • Tundra: treeless arctic and alpine vegetation
    • Sparsely Vegetated/Barren Land: plant cover generally %3C 25%
    • Perennial Snow or Ice: perennial snowfields or glaciers
    • Cropland: cultivated land
    • Rangeland and Pasture: native vegetation with %3C 10% tree cover
    • Built-up Area: Cities and towns

Features of the Time Slider window

The main window provides controls that allow the visualization of temporal data.

  • Select Play button Play Button to play an animation that progresses through the data chronologically. The animation may be stopped at any time by selecting the Pause button Pause Button.
  • Select and drag the Time Slider Control Time Slider Control to the right or left to manually move through the temporal data interactively.
  • Select the Next button Next Button to move forward to the next time stamp.
  • Select the Previous button Previous Button to move back to the previous time stamp.
Time Slider Window

The configuration options panel provides controls that allow changes to the time slider parameters.

  • Open and close the configuration options panel by clicking its tab.
  • To adjust the Playback Speed (ms), select the up and down arrows on the trigger to increase or decrease the animation play speed in increments of 100 milliseconds. The default play speed is set to 1500 milliseconds. Note that once the data is cached for each time interval the animation will play more efficiently.
  • To adjust the After Playing Once option, select "repeat" or "stop" from the drop down list to loop or stop playback of the animation after the last time interval has been reached. The default is set to "repeat" the animation.
  • To adjust the Time Interval, select the up and down arrows on the trigger to increase or decrease the amount of time between each interval. The default setting and minimum time interval is the difference between two sequential time intervals on the time slider. The maximum time interval allowed is the difference between the start time and the end time. Note that the units for a time interval is displayed next to this control and is not adjustable.
  • To adjust the Start Time, select from the dropdown list a start time that is earlier than the end time. Although all start times are displayed, only a start time that occurs before the end time that is selected is permitted.
  • To adjust the End Time, select from the dropdown list an end time that is later than the start time. Although all end times are displayed, only an end time that occurs after the start time that is selected is permitted.
  • Select the Load button to implement the modifications to the parameters of the "Time Slider".
  • Select the Restore button to set the parameters of the "Time slider" to the initial values of the map service.

Basemap

Use Basemap gallery to select an appropriate Basemap for your application. The available Basemaps include the following:

  • Canada: Natural Resources Canada's "The Canada Base Map - Transportation (CBMT)" service.
  • Canada with Labels: Natural Resources Canada's "The Canada Base Map - Transportation (CBMT)" and labels services.
  • Imagery: Satellite imagery. Resolution varies depending on your location.
  • Imagery with Labels: Satellite imagery with basic map labels, such as cities and towns.
  • Streets: Presents highway-level data and street-level data for much of Canada
  • Topographic: A general-purpose map that includes administrative boundaries, cities, water features, physical features, parks, landmarks, highways, roads, railways, airports, and buildings overlaid on land cover and shaded relief for added context.
  • Terrain with Labels: Presents shaded relief, and coastal water features that provide neutral background with political boundaries and place names.
  • Light Gray Canvas: Provides geographic context using key information only using minimal colors, labels, and features.
  • National Geographic: Presents features over shaded relief and land cover imagery using the National Geographic map style, including administrative boundaries, cities, protected areas, highways, roads, railways, water features, buildings and landmarks.
  • Oceans: Presents ocean data including bathymetry (water depth), marine water body names and undersea feature names. Land features are presented over land cover and shaded relief imagery and include administrative boundaries, cities, inland waters and roads.
  • OpenStreetMap: A world map derived from data submitted by contributors to the OpenStreetMap Project, an initiative to create and provide free geographic data.
Change Basemap window

Calculate biomass inventory

Create a report on the availability of one or more types of biomass based on a location that you select. See Calculating Biomass Inventory.

Link

Use Show link to map to create a link to the current view extent.

Note: The link displays the current map view with the default map layers. It does not preserve any other map layers you have selected or other data provided by the interactive map.

Print

Use Print this map to save the current view as a file that is suitable for sharing and printing.

Viewing and printing PDF format files requires that Adobe Reader be installed on your computer.

The Landscape and Portrait templates print the map inside a frame on an 8 ½ x 11 page. The information in the frame includes:

  • The default map title or one that you specify
  • Map legend
  • Copyright information

The Map only template allows you to print the map without a frame. The page size is determined by the dimensions of the map in the current browser window.

  1. Select Print.
  2. (Optional) In the Print Map dialog box, for Map title, enter the title you want to add to the map in the PDF file.
  3. For Choose template, select one of the following:
    • Landscape: Prints the map using horizontal orientation (page that is wider than it is tall).
    • Portrait: Prints the map using vertical orientation (page that is taller than it is wide).
    • Map only: Prints the map image only, without a frame that contains the title, map legend and other information.
  4. Click Print.

The file is displayed in a new browser window. Use your internet browser’s options to save a copy of the file or print it.

Measure

Use Measurement tools to determine area, length or coordinates. You can set or change the units of measurement before or after you measure a feature.

To measure an area:

  1. Select Area for Area.
  2. Select desired unit of measurement from the list.
  3. Select a point on the map to create the first corner of the area that you want to measure. Select additional points to add corners as needed.
  4. Double-click to complete the area.

The result is displayed in the Measurement tools dialog box.

An example of measuring area

To measure a distance:

  1. Select Distance for Distance.
  2. Select desired unit of measurement from the list.
  3. Select a point on the map to create the first point of the line you want to measure.
  4. Select additional points to extend the line as needed.
  5. Double-click to create the final point.

The result is displayed in the Measurement tools dialog box.

An example of measuring distance

To display coordinates for a location on the map:

  1. Select Location for Location.
  2. Select a unit of measurement from the list.
  3. On the map, select the location you want the coordinates for.

The result is displayed in the Measurement tools dialog box.

An example of finding coordinates

Keyboard Navigation

This window's functionality is also available via the keyboard:

  • Tab to the desired Measurement tool and press "ENTER" to activate it.
  • Tab to the units drop-down and press "ENTER" to view the choices for the current tool. Use arrow keys to navigate the choices and press "ENTER" to select one.

Full screen

Use About this map to enlarge the map to the full internet browser window and to reduce it to its default size.

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About

Use About this map to view a general description of the application including disclaimer.

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Find Address or Place

The Find address or place capability can be used to search for city names, provinces, postal codes or x,y and lon,lat coordinates to center the map on that location. Locations are restricted to the geographic extent of Canada. For place names that have more than one location, e.g. Toronto, Ontario, or Toronto, PEI, the more highly ranked location will be displayed. To refine your search, simply add a qualifier, such as “PEI”.

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Calculating Biomass Inventory

Use Calculate biomass to determine either the amount of biomass available within a radius of a location you select or the area required to provide a required amount of biomass.

You can calculate the availability of agricultural residue and crops, forestry residue or both.

You can create multiple biomass inventory reports using different locations or options. Because BIMAT performs the calculation for each location independently, the biomass inventory for an area can be part of the calculation for more than one location.

Calculate biomass window

Calculation Type

To calculate the amount of available biomass found within a specified distance from a location:

  1. Select Calculate the amount of biomass available within a specified distance.
  2. In the km field, specify the distance to use.

BIMAT draws the area on the map later, after you select a point.

To calculate the area around the selected point that can supply a specified amount of biomass:

  1. Select Calculate the area required to satisfy the specified demand for biomass.
  2. In the t (tonnes) field, specify the required amount.

Analysis Location

Do one of the following:

  • Select Place Point on Map to manually select a location on the map.
  • Specify a longitude and latitude point, and then click Place Point on Map to select that location.

To change the location, click Place Point on Map again and select the new point.

Agricultural Biomass

  1. Under Agricultural Biomass, select the types of material to include in the calculation:
    • Straw/Stover: The residue that remains from agricultural crops after the grain has been harvested (for Barley, Wheat, Flax, Oats and Corn only)
    • Grain/Seed: Agricultural crops (for all types)
  2. Under Adjustment Factors, for Participation Rate, select the percentage of available agricultural residue (Straw/Stover) and crop (Grain/Seed) that you expect to acquire.
  3. If you selected barley, wheat or oat straw, to adjust the results for amounts of straw that are needed to satisfy the estimated demand for cattle feed and bedding, select Competing Use.
  4. For Tillage Type, select how the results are adjusted to account for residue that should not be harvested to discourage erosion. The adjustment is calculated based on the type of tillage used at the location:
    • Current State: Adjusts amounts based on the type of tillage currently in use.
    • Conventional: Adjusts amounts to reflect that the area is prepared for planting or seeding by plowing, cultivating or otherwise turning the soil.
    • Zero Tillage: Adjusts amounts to reflect that the area is prepared for planting or seeding by using conservation tillage, which does not disturb the soil.

Forestry Biomass

Select the types of material to include in the calculation:

  • Roadside Harvest Residue: Residues that accumulate at the roadside landings used by commercial forestry operations. Select Harwood, Softwood or both.
  • Mill Residue: Residues that are generated by mills (for example, pulp, paper or lumber) that consume more than 100,000 cubic meters of wood each year. Select Harwood, Softwood or both.
  • Urban Wood Waste: Wood waste that is produced by an urban centre. Calculated using waste from urban centres with a population of more than 1,000 people only.

Additional Report Parameters

Variability information for agricultural material: Adds availability information for agricultural residues based on 10-year low and 20-year low production levels, in addition to information based on median production levels.

Because variability information is not available for forestry biomass, you cannot select this option if any forestry biomass material is selected.

Include straw harvest and transportation costs: Adds the estimated cost to harvest any agricultural residue you have selected and transport it to the selected location.

You can include agricultural seed and grain types in your calculation when this option is selected. However, the harvest and transportation costs are generated for the straw and stover portion of the results only.

For more information, see Working with Biomass Inventory Reports.

Calculate

  1. Select Calculate to start the biomass inventory calculation. The results are displayed in a new tab (for example, Site 1).
  2. To generate results for additional sites, select Place Point On Map, select the new site on the map, make changes to the calculation options as required, and then click Calculate.
  3. To re-calculate using the same site, change the options as required without choosing a new location, and then select Calculate. The results are displayed in on a new tab.

For information about the results, see Working with Biomass Inventory Reports.

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Working with Biomass Inventory Reports

Save Report(s) to PDF

Printed reports include the map, legend and the results for each the current sites. You can also specify a custom title (maximum 250 characters) and subtitle (maximum 500 characters).

  1. Select Save Report(s) to PDF.
  2. Enter an optional title or subtitle, and then select OK.

A PDF version of the report is displayed in your web browser. Use Adobe Reader options to print or save the file.

Remove a site tab

To remove a site tab from the Biomass Inventory Calculation dialog box, on the calculation results tab, click the X button and then confirm that you want to delete the tab. This action deletes all calculations and other information associated with the site.

Area Required chart

If your report calculates the area that can supply a specified amount of biomass, the site tab displays a chart that includes the size of area required in an average production year.

If you selected Include Yield Variability Total Straw, the chart also displays the area required for a year with 10-year low production and 20-year low production.

Biomass Totals chart

If your report calculates the amount of biomass that is available within a specified area, the calculation result tab displays a pie chart that shows the general types of biomass as a proportion of the total available amount.

Yield Variability chart

If your report calculates the amount of biomass that is available within a specified area, and you selected Include Yield Variability Total Straw, the site tab displays a bar chart that shows the available amounts of general types of biomass relative to each other for an average production year and for 10-year and 20-year production lows.

Calculation parameters

The BIMAT report displays the options that you selected for the calculation, including the location you selected (in x, y coordinates) and the specified radius (if used).

Agricultural Biomass

The calculation result tab lists available amounts for each type of biomass you selected and a total amount, based on an average production year.

If you selected Include Yield Variability Total Straw, it also includes amounts and totals based on 10-year and 20-year production lows.

Forestry Biomass

The calculation result tab lists available amounts for each type of biomass you selected and a total amount, based on an average production year.

Total average area/biomass

Depending on the type of calculation, the calculation result tab displays the total biomass found in the area or the total area required, calculated using all types of biomass and based on an average production year.

Straw Transportation Costs

If you selected Include straw/stover harvest and transportation costs, the calculation results include estimated costs to harvest and transport the straw or stover to the location you selected.

The cost is expressed as a dollar value, carbon dioxide emissions (in megatonnes) and in energy required (in megajoules).

If you selected Variability information for agricultural material, it also includes costs that are calculated using the 10-year and 20-year production lows.

Grain and seed materials are not included in these calculations.

Note: Some costs that make up the overall dollar cost for harvest and transportation (for example, as labour and fuel) can vary widely over time. BIMAT’s calculations are dependent on the dollar costs used in the original research studies and may need to be adjusted to reflect current market costs. For more information, see About the data.

Download Shapefile

To download the region used for the BIMAT calculation to your computer in Esri shapefile format, select Download Shapefile.

The shapefile is a representation of the area used to calculate the biomass inventory, but it does not include the underlying inventory data.

BIMAT downloads the shapefile in ZIP archive file format. The archive includes an end-user license agreement that describes the terms under which you can use the file.

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About the Data

Availability data

BIMAT uses a grid of 10-kilometer x 10-kilometer cells to represent the availability of biomass on the landmass of Canada. All inventory data is summarized to these BIMAT cells.

The woody biomass data was provided by the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) of Natural Resources Canada and estimates average annual production based on forestry activities for the years 2004-2006. These activities included Annual Allowable Cut (permitted amounts of harvesting), mills in operation and mill production.

For agricultural crops and residues, yield information for each BIMAT cell is calculated using annual production information for the years 1985-2010. The following information is provided for each cell:

  • Median yield and production,
  • The tenth percentile value (representing estimated 1-in-10 year low production),
  • The fifth percentile value (representing estimated 1-in-20 year low production).

Woody biomass inventory

The woody biomass availability data was calculated for BIMAT cells that represent forested lands, land that has been converted to forest and urban areas. Availability, production and potential production information was derived from five main sources:

  • Estimates of the hardwood and softwood land base (forest inventory) derived from satellite imagery (a land cover dataset developed by CFS).
  • Annual Allowable Cut statistics from the State of the Forest report, produced by CFS, and the National Forest Database. (Annual Allowable Cut measures the amount of wood that is permitted to be harvested in a one-year period to ensure forest sustainability and productivity.)
  • Mill locations and estimates of mill production and fibre use (an inventory dataset developed by CFS and the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre).
  • Population and population growth statistics from the 2006 Census, provided by Statistics Canada.
  • Hybrid poplar and willow growth and yield estimates from land suitability modeling (model developed by CFS and the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre) and statistics from a national network of plantations (a demonstration network developed by CFS and the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre).

The woody biomass inventory is currently derived from the following datasets:

  1. Forest inventory (the hardwood and softwood land base)
  2. Roadside harvest residues
  3. Mill residues
  4. Urban wood residues
  5. Purpose-grown biomass
  6. Hybrid poplar and willow suitability

The information in each of the woody biomass inventory datasets is summarized from source datasets that are 1-kilometer or finer in resolution. Zonal statistic functions within a Geographic Information System (GIS) were used to summarize the information into BIMAT’s 10 km x 10 km reporting framework. The following sections describe the methods that were used to develop the source (1 km resolution) datsets.

Forest inventory

Because the forested land base represents the primary source of woody biomass in Canada, forest inventory data is essential to derive estimates of secondary sources of woody biomass, such as roadside harvest residues and mill residues.

Land cover data for the country was reclassified to show the forested land base and the distribution of softwood and hardwood forest types across Canada in hectares. Regional growth, yield and rotation length (years required to establish and grow trees) information was then combined with the inventory information to help estimate roadside harvest residues and mill residues.

Roadside harvest residues

Current forestry practices in Canada produce large amounts of forest harvest biomass that are not utilized by industry and represent a major secondary source of woody biomass. These forestry residues are commonly concentrated at the roadside access points and typically are either burned or moved back onto the forest floor. They are primarily made up of tree branches and tops and the under-sized felled trees and species that are separated from the marketable wood during harvesting.

Information about the harvest residue production for individual mills is currently unavailable. However, harvest residues can be estimated using the mill type, harvesting method or a combination of the two. In general, the type of forest product (pulp, paper, lumber, oriented strand board) and the forest stand characteristics (size, species, mixture) determine the harvesting method that is used (cut-to-length, tree-length, full tree or whole tree). The harvesting method, in turn, influences the volume of forest residues produced and left at roadside landings.

Information about mill consumption, product type, mill type, harvesting methods and geographic locations were compiled for all mills in Canada that consume more than 100,000 cubic metres of wood fibre each year. This information was combined with regional rotation length and yield information to determine the harvest area that each mill requires to maintain its current level of consumption. Then, the volume (in oven-dried tonnes) of hardwood and softwood residues that would be available within each mill's harvest area each year was determined. In addition to harvested healthy trees, the estimated roadside residues include the dead or dying trees that are associated with natural forest disturbances such as wildfire, pest and disease, and trees uprooted or broken by wind.

Mill residues

The forest products industry has long been using mill residues as a source of energy. These residues are the non-marketable sawdust, wood chunks and bark components that are produced at the mill site when logs are processed into conventional forest products.

While data that can be used determine the volume of biomass used for energy generation is available for some pulp and paper mills, up-to-date information about the residue produced and disposed of at all wood product manufacturing sites is lacking.

Information about mill consumption and harvest volumes, forest product type, mill type and geographic locations were compiled for all mills in Canada that consume more than 100,000 cubic metres of wood fibre annually. Forest product type and mill type information was used to estimate a factor for the wood fibre recovery and annual residue production at each mill. The estimated mill residues include both hardwood and softwood residues and represent the amount generated from primary production. The estimates do not account for the use or consumption of residues through secondary or tertiary mill production.

Urban wood residues

Urban wood residue is a portion of the municipal waste stream and can include discarded wood products, whole trees, pruned branches or stumps generated during street and park maintenance. Most of this residue consists of used lumber, trim, shipping pallets and crates, trees, branches, and other wood debris from landscape management, construction, demolition and land clearing activities.

Because data for wood residue generated by urban activities is not available for all urban areas in Canada, census information was used to developed estimates. 2006 Census data was compiled for urban centres with a population greater than 1,000. Population size, population growth and area statistics were used to estimate urban wood residues. Urban centres were initially given geographic coordinates using point features. These point features were then converted to area features using the area statistics from the census data. The final data represents an area-based estimate of the urban wood residues (in oven-dried tonnes per year) that are potentially available in, or near, urban centres with populations greater than 1,000 persons.

Purpose-grown woody biomass

Woody biomass can also be produced by purpose-grown sources. For example, hybrid poplar and willow plantations can be established for the purpose of generating feedstock for bioproducts and conversion to bioenergy. The national inventory of purpose-grown activities, established by Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, was used to estimate sustainable annual yields (in oven-dried tonnes per hectare per year) at established hybrid poplar and willow plantations across Canada.

Hybrid poplar or willow suitability

Converting land to forest on a large scale is one approach being investigated to address Canada's increasing need for woody biomass. This type of afforestation, however, requires knowledge of where it is suitable to establish and grow trees. CFS and the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre developed suitability models to identify locations suitable for purpose-grown plantations of hybrid poplar and hybrid willow. The models, which were developed using fuzzy-logic, estimate land suitability as an index derived from a set of environmental variables including growing season precipitation, climate moisture index, growing degree days, Canada Land Inventory capability for agriculture, soil texture, soil drainage and elevation. These index values can be combined with regional growth and yield information to assess yield potential and identify areas of high-growth potential.

Agricultural inventory

The agricultural availability data was calculated for BIMAT cells that fall within the agricultural extent of Canada. The base yield and production information was derived from two main data sources:

  • Yield information from an annual survey of Census Agricultural Regions, provided by Statistics Canada
  • Annual estimates of vegetation health derived from satellite imagery (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, or NDVI, provided by the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Natural Resources Canada)

NDVI data was used to relate the productivity of a single BIMAT cell to the productivity of the agricultural region where it is located. This ratio and the yield for the region were then used to calculate the yield for the cell.

Cells that had a yield well outside the average yield of the cells within a 50-kilometer radius were adjusted to a yield value closer to the average.

In addition to providing yield data for individual cells, cell yields are used to calculate production levels for each crop: wheat, barley, oats, flax, corn, soy and canola.

For wheat, barley, oats, flax and corn, cell yield data is also used to generate yield and production data for crop residues (straw and stover).

Crop residue yield

Above-ground crop production can be divided into two components: grain and residue. Generally speaking, residue is the stubble, chaff, straw, and in the case of corn, stover.

Unlike grain production, data that represents exact measurements the agricultural residue produced by Canadian agricultural lands over time is not currently available.

However, the Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI) has accumulated substantial data that describes grain-to-residue ratios for different Prairie locations and a range of crop types. By comparing this data to weather information for specific locations and years, the impact of growing conditions on residue yields was calculated. Soil moisture information (calculated using precipitation and temperature data provided by Natural Resources Canada) was combined with grain yield data to create location-specific straw yield information.

For corn, not enough data is available to develop a residue-to-grain ratio for specific locations. Instead, BIMAT determines corn residue production using a constant ratio based on factors provided by scientific literature.

The above-ground residue for wheat, barley, oats and flax is separated into three components:

  • Straw, which can be harvested
  • Chaff (potentially harvestable; however, BIMAT does not currently include harvesting data for chaff)
  • Stubble (non-harvestable)

About 50% of the residue is chaff and stubble.

The following method is used to calculate straw yield from the grain yield:

  • Residue yield = grain yield x (residue-to-grain ratio)
  • Chaff yield = residue yield x (chaff-to-residue ratio)
  • Stubble yield = residue yield x (stubble-to-residue ratio)
  • Straw yield = residue yield - chaff yield - stubble yield

If yields are not sufficient to allow the residue to be harvested, the residue yield is considered to be zero (0).

For corn, about 20% of the residue is stubble (non-harvestable). The remaining 80% is called stover.

In addition to the initial calculation of straw or stover yield, two optional adjustments to the final production levels are calculated:

  • Soil conservation: Where quantities of chaff and stubble are not sufficient to prevent erosion, the application reduces the amount of harvestable residue. The adjustment factor is based on the tillage type.
  • Cattle use: For straw production, if the user chooses to account for the demand for straw used as cattle bedding and feed, the sustainable straw production amount is reduced by the calculated demand.

These factors, which BIMAT users can include in their calculations, are discussed in more detail in the following sections.

Soil conservation

Removing crop residues can have a serious impact on soil quality and productivity. Long-term studies have shown that only about 20% of the nitrogen in the residues, and even less carbon, enters the soil from residues left on the soil surface in reduced or conservation tillage systems. Most of the improvement in soil quality comes from reduced decomposition of the below-ground crop residues (that is, the roots).

However, removing too much residue can leave the soil vulnerable to erosion. Erosion depletes the upper soil horizons, which are rich in nutrients and organic matter. Because this part of the soil is crucial for plant growth, sufficient residue must be left behind to prevent soil degradation.

The amount of residue that is required to prevent soil erosion varies with the type of tillage system. Generally speaking, for zero-tillage (or conservation) systems, stubble alone is often sufficient to reduce soil erosion. However, in tilled systems, part of the residue is buried and most of the rest is flattened, making it less effective for preventing erosion. Chaff is only partially effective in preventing erosion in zero-till systems and only slightly effective in tillage systems.

The following soil conservation data is available for each cell:

  • The tillage system that is currently in use, provided by Statistics Canada
  • An estimate of the amount of crop residue that is required to prevent soil erosion under each system (calculated using landscape models)

BIMAT automatically determines the amount of biomass that is needed to meet conservation requirements, using either the current tillage type or the type that user selects.

For flax, straw left in the field does not completely break down, leaving large quantities of fibre which makes subsequent field operations difficult. Therefore, when BIMAT does not adjust amounts for conservation purposes when it calculates the availability of flax straw.

Cattle use

Cereal straw is used for bedding and as roughage (coarse feed) for beef cows over the winter. Producers who have cattle are not only unlikely to sell their own straw, they may actually compete with a bio-products business to buy straw from their neighbours.

To produce an estimate of straw requirements for cattle, daily feeding and bedding consumption were multiplied by the number of feeding and bedding days. (Moisture deficit data was used to determine the length of the season where feeding and bedding are required.) This number was then multiplied by the number of beef cows calculated using the Census of Agriculture and agricultural surveys, provided by Statistics Canada.

The cattle demand is deducted from straw-producing crops until the demand is met, from the most desirable to least desirable source of straw. Cattle demand is deducted from barley straw first, followed by oat and wheat (if required).

Because flax straw and corn stover are not commonly used to feed and provide bedding for livestock, cattle use data was not generated for these crops.

If there is insufficient straw in an area to meet the cattle demand, the amount of available wheat, oat and barley straw is assumed to be zero. However, the model also assumes that straw cannot move across cells to meet excess livestock demand, so high cattle demand in one location does not affect supply of straw in neighbouring areas.

Production by area

Crop and crop residue production for a cell was calculated by multiplying the calculated yield for each cell by its crop production area. This is the area reported as being in agricultural production for the years 1985-2010, provided by Statistics Canada.

Median, one-in-10 year and 1-in-20 year values were taken from the results.

Calculating inventory data

BIMAT allows users to calculate the amount of biomass that is available within a given radius of a location they select, or, alternatively, the area required to supply an amount of biomass that they specify. The data that BIMAT uses for the final calculation depends on the options selected by the user.

Viewing agricultural inventory data

BIMAT provides availability maps that show yield and available amounts of canola and soy for each BIMAT cell in tonnes per year.

For crop residues, the BIMAT interactive map provides availability maps that show the following information by cell:

  • The calculated yield of straw or stover
  • The amount of straw or stover available
  • For wheat, barley, oat and flax, the amount of straw available after cattle usage

Maps of cattle straw requirements and the percentage of land where zero tillage (or conservation tillage) is used are also available.

Harvest and Transportation Costs

BIMAT calculates the cost to harvest the agricultural residue produced in each cell using yield and production information and factors that were generated using a biomass supply chain model.

The Integrated Biomass Supply Analysis & Logistics (IBSAL) model was developed by the Bioenergy Resources and Engineering Systems Group at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tennessee. IBSAL determines the cost of harvesting biomass by simulating the associated operations (including combining, baling, storing and transporting) and processes (including drying, wetting and storage losses) as well as calculating the operating and capital cost of equipment. It calculates dollar costs as well as energy required (in kilojoules) and carbon dioxide emissions (in tonnes).

For the cost factors used by BIMAT, the harvesting system consisted of combining, baling, transporting bales to the side of the farm and stacking bales on prepared, gravel-covered ground. Bales were covered in a tarp to prevent rain damage.

The cost of transporting the agricultural residue is calculated using production information, road network data that estimates the distance between BIMAT cells and cost factors for loading, unloading and transportation. The transportation factor calculates the cost to transport each ton of biomass for each kilometer travelled, in dollars, energy and emissions.

Distances between cells were calculated using road network information derived from National Road Network (NRN) datasets from Geobase. BIMAT uses these distances to calculate the cost to handle and transport biomass produced at each cell in a selected area to the cell at the initial location selected by the user.

Handling and transportation cost factors were based on average values derived from scientific literature from Canada and the United States for loading, unloading and transporting various types of biomass. These factors account for the cost of labour, fuel and capital at each step in the handling and transportation process, including the energy and emissions cost of making and transporting fuel.

BIMAT allows users to add harvest and transportation cost information for straw and stover to their biomass inventory reports. BIMAT calculates the total cost to harvest and transport the specified types of biomass within the area selected by the inventory calculation. It displays costs as a dollar value, energy used and carbon dioxide emissions.

BIMAT also displays the average cost per cell for the area and, if the user has selected the yield variability option, the estimated cost when production is at a 1-in-10 year low and 1-in-20 year low.

Data Source Acknowledgements

Agriculture Biomass data derived from:

  • Statistics Canada Crops Small Area Data, 1985-2010 and Census of Agriculture 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006, 2011
  • Canada 10-day AVHRR VIS Surface Reflectance and NDVI Time Series, 1985 to 2010, provided by the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing, Natural Resources Canada
  • Grain-to-residue yield ratios for Western Canada developed by Prairie Agricultural Machinery Institute (PAMI)
  • Natural Resources Canada Gridded Climate Dataset, 1985-2010 (precipitation and temperature data)

© 2008 Department of Natural Resources Canada. All rights reserved.

  • Forest biomass data

GeoBase®

  • National Road Network

Integrated Biomass Supply Analysis & Logistics (IBSAL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory

  • Harvesting Cost Factors

© 2007 Department of Natural Resources Canada. All rights reserved.

  • Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Land Cover
  • Atlas of Canada 1:1,000,000 National Frameworks Data (Pipelines, power transmission lines)

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Supported Web Browsers

This application has been developed to the AAFC standard of Internet Explorer 8, however every effort has been made to make this application compatable with the latest versions (as of the time of development) of Firefox and Chrome.

Please note: if you're experiencing errors or strange behaviour with the map tools, it may be because your browser has cached an old version of the code. If errors occur, clearing your browser's temporary files (also called the cache) may solve the problem. Consult your browser's help file for instructions on clearing the temporary files or cache.

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Accessibility

Increased accessibility to a wide range of users is made possible through the use of keyboard shortcuts. Shortcuts allow you to manipulate maps, access features, and increase or enhance the visibility of page elements. Where available, keyboard shortcuts have been noted in the help text. While every reasonable effort has been made to ensure accessibility to the AAFC Interactive Maps, they may be inaccessible to some users.

In addition to keyboard shortcuts, the AAFC Interactive Maps also support:

  • Tab key navigation between page elements
  • Keyboard control of page and form elements
  • Browser text scaling

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For Further Assistance

For more information regarding mapping tools, please refer to the Geospatial Platform Viewer Help page.

If you have questions or feedback, please email Agri-Geomatics at Agri-Geomatics-Agrog@agr.gc.ca.

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