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[en] Aim of study: The study aims to evaluate the maximum potential stocking level in cork oak (Quercus suber L.) woodlands, using the ecologically-based size-density relationship of the self-thinning law. Area of study: The study area refers to cork oak forests in mainland Portugal, distributed along its 18 districts from north to south. Material and Methods: A dataset with a total of 2181 observations regarding pure cork oak stands was collected from the Portuguese Forest Inventory (NFI) databases and from research plots. The dataset was subjected to two filtering procedures, one more restrictive than the other, to select the stands presenting the higher stocking values. The two resulting subsets, with 116 and 36 observations, from 16 and 10 districts of mainland Portugal, respectively, were then used to assess and describe the allometric relationship between tree number and their mean diameter. Main results: The allometric relationship was analysed and modelled using the log transformed variables. A slightly curvilinear trend was identified. Thus, a straight line and a curve were both fitted for comparison purposes. Goodness-of-fit statistics point out for a good performance when the data is set to the uppermost observed stocking values. A self-thinning line for cork oak was projected from the estimated relationship. Research highlights: The self-thinning model can be used as an ecological approach to develop density guidelines for oak woodlands in a scenario of increasing cork demands. The results indicate that the recommendations being applied in Portugal are far below the maximal potential stocking values for the species. It is therefore of the utmost importance to review the traditional silvicultural guidelines and endorse new ones.
[en] Aim of study: We built biomass expansion factors (BCEFs) from Douglas-fir felled trees planted with different planting densities to evaluate the differences according tree size and planting density. Area of study: The Douglas-fir plantation under study is located on the northern coastal chain of Calabria (Tyrrhenian side) south Italy. Materials and methods: We derived tree level BCEFs, relative to crown (BCEFc), to stem (BCEFst = basic density, BD) and total above-ground (BCEFt) from destructive measurements carried out in a Douglas-fir plantation where four study plots were selected according to different planting densities (from 833 to 2500 trees per hectare). The measured BCEFs were regressed against diameter at breast height and total height, planting density, site productivity (SP) and their interactions to test the variation of BCEFs. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and the post hoc Tukey comparison test were used to test differences in BCEFt, BCEFc and in BD between plots with different planting density. Main results: BCEFs decreased with increasing total height and DBH, but large dispersion measures were obtained for any of the compartments in the analysis. An increasing trend with planting density was found for all the analyzed BCEFs, but together with planting density, BCEFs also resulted dependent upon site productivity. BCEFt average values ranged between 1.40 Mg m-3 in planting density with 833 trees/ha (PD833) to 2.09 Mg m-3 in planting density with 2500 trees/ha (PD2500), which are in the range of IPCC prescribed values for Douglas-fir trees. Research highlights: Our results showed that the application of BCEF to estimate forest biomass in stands with different planting densities should explicitly account for the effect of planting density and site productivity.
[en] The ''Wood as a Fuel'' programme - which funded the research covered in this report - is one of the renewable energy development programmes managed by ETSU (the Energy Technology Support Unit) for the Department of Trade and Industry. This national programme is developing the production and use of fuel wood from two main sources - forestry residues and short rotation coppice. Wood fuel from short rotation coppice offers the greater potential - energy equivalent to 10 mtce (million tonnes of coal equivalent) could be produced annually from 1 million hectares of land. This programme is now well established, with ten trial coppice sites in operation, plus some 40 others. A number of successfully willow and poplar clones have been selected for different soil conditions, and machinery for planting and harvesting has been developed. Local consortia of farmers and users are being established to provide long-term markets for the wood fuel produced. (author)
[en] Research on willow (Salix spp.) as a locally produced, renewable feedstock for bioenergy and bioproducts began in New York in the mid-1980s in response to growing concerns about environmental impacts associated with fossil fuels and declining rural economies. Simultaneous and integrated activities-including research, large-scale demonstrations, outreach and education, and market development-were initiated in the mid-1990s to facilitate the commercialization of willow biomass crops. Despite technological viability and associated environmental and local economic benefits, the high price of willow biomass relative to coal has been a barrier to wide-scale deployment of this system. The cost of willow biomass is currently $3.00GJ-1($57.30odt-1) compared to $1.40-1.90GJ-1 for coal. Yield improvements from traditional breeding efforts and increases in harvesting efficiency that are currently being realized promise to reduce the price differential. Recent policy changes at the federal level, including the provision to harvest bioenergy crops from Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land and a closed-loop biomass tax credit, and state-level initiatives such as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) will help to further reduce the difference and foster markets for willow biomass. Years of work on willow biomass crop research and demonstration projects have increased our understanding of the biology, ecophysiology and management of willow biomass crops. Using an adaptive management model, this information has led to the deployment of willow for other applications such as phytoremediation, living snow fences, and riparian buffers across the northeastern US. (author)
[en] Aim of study: Guanaco (Lama guanicoe Müller), is a South American native ungulate widely distributed in Patagonia, which in the island of Tierra del Fuego (TF), extends its habitat into Nothofagus spp. forests. Within these forests, guanacos consume lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) leaves and twigs, and other understory species. The aim of this work was to determine: 1) the spring and summer diet of free ranging guanacos, and 2) which plants, grown in the forest understory, guanacos do prefer, or avoid, in these seasons of great forage abundance. Area of study: Tierra del Fuego (Argentina), on three representative areas which combined Nothofagus forests and adjacent meadows (vegas). Material and Methods: uanacos’ diet was determined by comparing epidermal and non-epidermal plant fragments with micro-histological analyses of feces. The analysis was made from composite samples of fresh feces, collected at the seasons of maximum forage productivity (spring and summer). Main results: During spring, 48% of guanacos’ diet was composed of lenga leaves, 30% of grass-like species, 15% of grasses, and less than 7% of herbs, shrubs, and lichens. In summer, 40% of the diet was composed of grasses, 30% of lenga leaves, 25% of grass-like species and the rest corresponded to herbs, shrubs, and lichens. Within the forest understory, guanaco selected lenga leaves and twigs, grass species were consumed according to their availability (or sometimes rejected), while other herbs were not consumed at all. Research highlights: Guanacos’ consumption preference for lenga, even considering the high availability of other forages, could adversely affect forest regeneration.
[en] During the last three decades, driving forces behind the development of short-rotation willow coppice (SRWC) in Sweden have been changing from a primary focus on biomass production towards emphasis on environmental applications. In most cases, current commercial SRWC practice is geared towards a combination of biomass production for energy purposes and environmental goals. The latter goals range from decreasing the impact of specific contaminants in the environment to organic waste handling in a recycling system in urban and/or agricultural areas. Where biomass production and pollutant management overlap, the science of phytoremediation has its practical application. Through phytoremediation, waste products that previously have been a burden for society can be used as valuable resources to increase short-rotation willow biomass production. In this paper we will present the terminology and definitions of different types of phytoremediation. We also give an overview of five different cases of phytoremediation activities with a potential for large-scale implementation. Some of the types of activities are already commercially used in Sweden; others seem promising but still need further development. (Author)
[en] The possible contribution of short rotation cultures (SRC) to carbon sequestration in both current and elevated carbon dioxide concentrations was investigated using the free-air carbon dioxide enrichment (FACE) technique. Three poplar species were grown in an SRC plantation for three growing seasons. Above-ground and below-ground biomass increased by 15 to 27 per cent and by 22 to 38 per cent, respectively; light-efficiency also increased as a result. Depletion of inorganic nitrogen from the soil increased after three growing seasons at elevated carbon dioxide levels, but carbon dioxide showed no effect on stem wood density. Stem wood density also differed significantly from species to species. These results confirmed inter-specific differences in biomass production in poplar, and demonstrated that elevated carbon dioxide enhanced biomass productivity and light-use efficiency of a poplar short rotation cultivation ecosystem without changing biomass allocation. The reduction in soil nitrogen raises the possibility of reduced long-term biomass productivity. 60 refs., 4 tabs., 4 figs
[en] This study attempted to define the optimum harvesting, processing and transport system in terms of the cost per tonne of delivering biomass produced from a commercial short rotation coppice crop to a 10 MWe bioenergy conversion plant 25 km away. Harvesting the crop during one short seasonal period of the year results in the need to store most of the material for between one to 12 months in order to provide a continual supply of feedstock. Storage of large volumes of biomass is costly and also results in dry matter losses over time. An alternative system would be to harvest small areas as required every few weeks throughout the year. This would enable cheaper, lower performance equipment to be used and hence provide a continual supply of biomass feedstock for delivery to the plant. Four systems of conventionally harvesting the biomass during one short seasonal period of 8-10 weeks were compared with two systems of harvesting it continually throughout the year. Whether the biomass is stored on the farms after harvest to allow for transpirational drying or at the plant was also compared. All-year-round harvesting using a simple tractor-mounted circular saw showed cost benefits in terms of $/GJ of energy delivered to the bioenergy plant but the performance assumptions made will require confirmation by field monitoring. A sensitivity analysis was conducted on several key parameters. (Author)
[en] Cost-supply curves for delivered wood chips from short rotation woody crops were calculated for 21 regularly spaced locations spanning the state of Tennessee. These curves were used to systematically evaluate the combined effects of location and facility demand on wood chip feedstock costs in Tennessee. The cost-supply curves were developed using BRAVO, a GIS-based decision support system which calculates marginal cost of delivering wood chips to a specific location given road network maps and maps of farm-gate prices and supplies of wood chips from short rotation energy crops. Marginal costs of delivered chips varied by both facility location in the state and facility demand. Marginal costs were lowest in central Tennessee, unless the facility demand was greater than 2,700 000 dry Mg/y (3 000 000 dry t/y) in which case west Tennessee was the lowest cost region. Marginal costs rose rapidly with increasing facility demand in the mountainous eastern portion of the state. Transportation costs accounted for 18-29% of the delivered cost and ranged between $8 and 18/dry Mg ($7 and 16/dry t). Reducing the expected farmer participation rate from 100 to 50 or 25% dramatically raised the marginal costs of feedstock supply in the east and central regions of the state. The analysis demonstrates the need to use geographically-specific information when projecting the potential costs and supplies of biomass feedstock. (author)