THE RESEARCH PROJECT CONCERNS STUDIES AND TRIALS TO OPTIMISE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF FAST GROWING FORESTRY ON MARGINAL LANDS.
A study has been undertaken to assess the suitability of tree species for Short Rotation Intensive Culture (SRIC) in Umbria. Robinia pseudoacacia was found to be particularly suited to Mediterranean areas, possessing good productivity in terms of biomass, a close cutting cycle, good physical and chemical qualities, and a favourable environmental impact, large scale availability and no cut restraints. The optimum cutting cycle was 2 to 3 years, with a yield of more than 10 tonnes/year of dry matter (DM). Other interesting species tested were Ginestra (Spartium junceum) and Acacia saligna. All these species belong to the legume family, with nitrogen fixation capacity through the rizobium symbiosis process, thus avoiding the need for nitrogen fertilizing. Another benefit is the low infestation characteristic of intensive cultivations, in that the species themselves are weeds. The use of herbicides for weed control can thus be avoided. Also noteworthy is their high adaptability to many pedoclimatic situations and to poor and even stony soils.
To allow an entirely mechanized harvest system a self propelled combine has been designed and is under construction. The machine is suitable for cutting, harvesting, chipping, storage in travel and unloading onto a transport vehicle. Harvest can be carried out throughout the year allowing optimum use of labour and machinery.
A passive solar drier has been designed suitable for concentration and drying of the production of an area of 500 to 1000 hectares. The end product is a dry chip (7% moisture) with high heating value (over 3800 kcal/kg).
Pre-summer harvest avoids the highest fire hazard period. The coppice plants sprout after 20 to 25 days giving root suckers of 1 m high by the spring.
DIFFERENT SPECIES OF SHRUBS AND TREES ARE TRIED, BUT THE MOST IMPORTANT EXPERIENCE IS MADE WITH SPARTIUM JUNCEUM (GINESTRA) AND ROBINIA PSEUDOACACIA (ACACIA). THESE TWO SPECIES HAVE BEEN ALREADY TRIED IN SMALL SCALE ON THE SITE OF THE RESEARCH (CIVITELLA D'ARNO) WITH ENCOURAGING RESULTS. THE 1986 SPRING NEW PLANTATIONS GROW VERY WELL AND IT IS THINKABLE THAT WILL BE POSSIBLE TO HAVE A REGIMEN YIELD OF ABOUT 15 TONS OF DM PER YEAR. THE INTRODUCTION OF THIS TYPE OF CULTIVATION MEANS:
- DECREASED NEEDS OF IMPORTED RAW ENERGY PRODUCTS;
- DECREASED SURPLUS PRODUCTION IN AGRICULTURE;
- REVALUATION OF MARGINAL LANDS;
- CREATION OF NEW JOBS WITH PROFITABLE WORK.
IN ADDITION TO THESE THERE ARE OTHER INDIRECT PUBLIC BENEFITS: FAVOURABLE INFLUENCE ON THE ENVIRONMENT, MORPHOLOGIC PROTECTION OF THE SOIL, REDUCTION OF FLOWING OF RAIN WATERS, PRODUCTION OF NO-POLLUTING COMBUSTIBLES. TO HAVE NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT PROBLEMS IT IS NECESSARY TO CULTIVATE SPECIES SPONTANEOUS OR ALREADY GROWING IN THE SITE. THE SPECIES MUST HAVE A VERY GOOD RESISTANCE AGAINST THE POLLUTION. ROBINIA PSEUDOACACIA AND SPARTIUM JUNCEUM, ALREADY TESTED IN "BIOMASSA PERUGIA" PROJECT, LIVE IN ALL EUROPE AND HAVE THE MENTIONED CHARACTERISTICS.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts