Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Mass production can help save forests

An EU-funded consortium successfully developed a new and sustainable technology that provides high-density, large-scale production of seedlings for forest regeneration.
Mass production can help save forests
Because of their high levels of biodiversity, forests are particularly sensitive to increased temperatures associated with climate change. They also suffer from a lack of investment in the production of forest regeneration materials. The EU-funded project 'Sustainable production of forest regeneration materials for protection against climate change' (REGEN-FOREST) addressed this situation.

REGEN-FOREST successfully developed a new sustainable and cost-efficient technology for the production of tree seedlings. The technology is based upon an environmentally friendly mobile unit, which uses light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to cultivate forest seedlings on rotating shelves.

The prototype growth chamber contains three LED lamps with continuous spectrum, which are quite unlike the 'ordinary' red and blue spectra currently on the market. The LED light source is combined with strictly controlled germination and growth conditions, reducing the need for energy, water, nutrients and pesticides.

Ten rotating shelves can hold 30 trays of up to 17 280 seedlings per cycle and provide consistent light temperature and humidity, creating uniform growth conditions. Therefore, the unit is not affected by the outdoor climate. Sprinklers, temperature and humidity are managed by a central control unit, which is simple enough to be operated by anybody after a few hours of training.

The result is that the prototype is five times more efficient in terms of space and energy savings than standard models. Furthermore, thanks to its lighter weight and reduced energy consumption the prototype can be easily moved to a new location and run on a mobile generator.

New LED-integrated technology represents a major change in forest nursery production for reforestation purposes. Not only is it more cost efficient, it also contributes to environmental protection through energy saving by adopting LED technology, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, since LEDS do not produce additional warming there is a further energy saving through reduced air conditioning costs.

REGEN-FOREST created a cost-effective environmentally friendly mobile unit that can mass produce seedlings for forest regeneration under carefully controlled conditions. The unit has already received a lot of interest and potential customers can view it by visiting the premises of the Tuscia University in Viterbo, Italy.

Related information

Keywords

Forests, seedlings, forest regeneration, biodiversity, increased temperatures, climate change, regeneration material, light-emitting diodes, rotating shelves, germination, forest nursery production, reforestation, environmentally friendly
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