Abstracts on Global Climate Change

May 2007

Short-rotation forestry of birch, maple, poplar and willow in Flanders (Belgium) I - Biomass production after 4 years of tree growth

Walle, IV Van Camp, N Van de Casteele, L Verheyen, K Lemeur, R

BIOMASS & BIOENERGY 31:5 267-275

During the last three decades, oil crises, agricultural surpluses and global climate change enhanced the interest in short-rotation forestry (SRF). In this study, the biomass production of birch (Betula pendula Roth), maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.-Tintigny), poplar (Populus trichocarpa x deltoides -Hoogvorst) and willow (Salix viminalis-Orm) growing under a short-rotation (SR) management system were compared after a 4 years period. The plantation was established on former agricultural land. The sandy soil had a mean pH of 4.5 and a mean carbon content of 1.0%. Survival rates after 4 years were 75.8%, 96.8%, 86.3% and 97.6% for birch, maple, poplar and willow, respectively. The mean actual annual biomass production for these four species amounted to 2.6, 1.2, 3.5 and 3.4 t DM ha(-1) yr(-1), respectively. The large variation in biomass production at the different plots of the plantation could not be explained by the measured soil parameters. Biomass production results found here were in the lower range of values reported in literature. However, in contrast to most other studies, no weed control, fertilisation or irrigation was applied in this experiment. As marginal agricultural soils are suboptimal for the growth of poplar and willow, birch can be considered as a very interesting alternative for the establishment of SR plantations in Flanders. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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