Biomass sources for cellulosic ethanol, like switchgrass, can be grown commercially. No need to endanger trees. Agricultural production also provides a lot of biomass waste that can be used to produce cellulosic ethanol as well.
Oh I agree.
In fact, if you wanted to get clever, use black-water sewage to grow aquatic biomas (from chlorophyta on up to water lillies) and stay even lower on the 'food chain' for a sourse of hydrocarbons.
At the same time, use waste heat from power plants to HEAT the black water fermenters to improve per-acre / per-ton yields. Yields being methane gas, methanol and ethanol -- depending on the process and stage.
The farms I grew up on plowed that biomass under for composting, And with the high amount of clay in the soil there it also made sense as an additive for moisture retention and to break up the soil particles.