© 2019, The Author(s). Background: Forest residues can be a feasible alternative for converting energy into fuels, electricity, or heat. Compared to other second-generation bioenergy sources, they do not compete for food, are relatively cheap, abundant in forest-rich areas, and more importantly their energy balance is close to zero. Biomass estimations can help design energy strategies to reduce fossil fuels dependency. Because of the land property distribution in Mexico, biomass estimations should consider not only the physical availability, but also the willingness of landowners to extract such raw materials. Methods: This study presents a methodological approach for evaluating the potential use of forest residues as a feedstock to generate bioenergy in northern Mexico. Remote sensing and field forest inventory were used to estimate the quantity and distribution of forest residues. In addition, a discrete choice analysis evaluated landowners’ preferences towards bioenergy development, including the most important factors that influence their willingness to extract their products and the expected price. Results and conclusions: Considering both physical and socio-economic aspects, results showed that about 59,000 metric tons per year could be available in the study area. The vast majority of landowners surveyed are willing to extract forest residues, as long as they are presented with extraction plans with the highest income. However, many showed concerns about the environmental impacts this activity can have on soils, plants, and fauna. These results can help evaluate the potential of these resources for bioenergy development.