The sustainability of woody biomass feedstock production and landscape management: land use, phytoremediation, biodiversity, and wildlife habitats
Keywords:Biomass production, phytoremediation, biodiversity, wildlife habitats, agroforestry, short rotation forestry, persistent organic pollutants, short rotation coppicing
Woody biomass feedstock is suitable for direct combustion, gasification, pyrolysis, ethanol or methanol production yielding heat, charcoal, pyrolysis oil, green electricity and bio-propellants. There are several issues concerning the environmental, socio-cultural and economic sustainability of woody biomass production connected to land use, protection and/or creation of wildlife habitats, conservation and remediation of wastelands and derelict cultural landscapes. Establishing energy plantations on arable lands or on grasslands is against nature conservation, while setting up them in depleted agricultural lands of inferior quality, polluted areas or wastelands could be advantageous for land reclamation and wildlife, because of
- root filtration, phytoremediation, less chemicals and improved soils;
- possibilities to establish organic production by combining irrigation with biologically cleaned, pathogen-free wastewater, - application of biosolids for fertilization connected to short rotation forestry (SRF) or short rotation coppicing (SRC), agroforestry (AF) or polycyclic arboriculture;
- more permanent cover that provides shelter and biomass for feeding, which is especially important in winter;
- higher architectural complexity of vegetation provides more place for nesting and feeding;
- forbs in the undergrowth and young shots could provide better quality food for wildlife than the intensive monocultures.
Biomass production is very complex and includes a vast variety of feedstocks suitable for a range of energy production technologies and many other products depending on the species and the conditions of cultivation. Therefore, the solution is a complex management system, including land use, phytoremediation, solid waste and wastewater management and ecosystem-based planning combined with other renewable energy sources such as geothermal energy, solar cells, wind turbines, hydroelectric power plants and non-polluting high-tech waste incinerators in one dynamic system.
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