Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Geography & Environmental Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Jerry Hall

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The search for an alternative to oil dominated political and economic thinking during the 1970’s and continues in this decade. In Ontario, one such alternative is methanol, which could possibly be supplied in large quantities from hybrid poplar biomass plantations. While the nature of these plantations has been debated at greath length, the exact quantity and location of land that could be available for plantations in Ontario has not been identified.

Using the Land Evaluation Model (LEM 2) developed at the University of Guelph an inventory of the land resources and the resulting land use patterns is determined. Throughout the province, there are approximately 4.2 million hectares of land that are economically capable of supporting hybrid poplar plantations, yielding enough energy to meet 145& of 1983 liquid fuel requirements. When the land that is currently cleared is quantified, the total land resource becomes 3.1 million hectares, equivalent 108& of 1983 requirements. However, most of this land is currently being used for agricultural production, and the amount of cleared land remaining totals just .846 million hectares. When both agricultural and poplar production requirements are given consideration, a linear programming evaluation by LEM 2 concludes that 2 million hectares could meet 71.1& of liquid fuel needs while decreasing overall agricultural production by 28.9&.

Because the magnitude of the resource base required for any of these scenarios is so great, the distribution of the land resourcecs and the potential land-use and economic impacts are reviewed.

Convocation Year