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Content archived on 2024-04-15

EXPERIMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF NOVEL BIOMASS SYSTEMS USING INNOVATIVE MIXTURES INCLUDING AGROFORESTRY AND NATURAL VEGETATION

Objective



INTENSIVE CULTIVATION OF ENERGY CROPS CAN HAVE CONSEQUENCES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT WHICH ARE JUST AS SEVERE AS PRAIRIE FARMING OR PLANTATION FORESTRY. YET ENERGY CROPPING OFFERS A NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR THE COPRODUCTION OF FUEL, TIMBER AND FOOD, USING SYSTEMS WHICH MATCH THE SPECIES TO THE HABITAT RATHER THAN VICE VERSA. MANY PRODUCTIVE, BUT HITHERTO UNEXPLOITED, SPECIES OF NATURAL VEGETATION CAN BE USED AS AN ENERGY FEEDSTOCK.

MIXTURES OF AGRICULTURE, ENERGY CROPS AND FORESTRY (AGRENFORESTRY), ARE THOUGHT TO HAVE POTENTIAL ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL ADVANTAGES. THESE WILL BE EXPLORED IN 4 WAYS:

A- COLLATION OF EXISTING INFORMATION ON THE YIELD AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSEQUENCES OF PRODUCTIVE SPECIES MIXTURES.
B- ESTABLISHMENT AND MONITORING OF 3 PLANTATIONS INCLUDING BIOENERGY CROPS. THESE WILL BE PLANTED IN SPRING 1987 ON DAIRYING LAND IN CHESHIRE, ARABLE LAND IN BUCKINGHAMSHIRE, AND HILL LAND IN THE BORDERS OF SCOTLAND.
C- NATURAL SYSTEMS WITH PRODUCTIVE UNDERSTORIES, LIKE BRACKEN AND RHODODENDRON, WILL BE OBSERVED.
D- PRESCRIPTIONS WILL BE GIVEN FOR THE LONG TERM CONSEQUENCES OF ENERGY-MIXTURES ON DIFFERENT TYPES OF LAND.

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Natural Environment Research Council
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