Woody biomass production: Traditional methods for modern problems

TitleWoody biomass production: Traditional methods for modern problems
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsBurnett, CD
Secondary TitlePaper presented at Alternative Energy in the Midwest: Research and Applications, March 19-20, 1987, Rosemont, Illinois
Series TitleILENR/AE-87/06
Date PublishedMarch 1987
PublisherIllinois Department of Energy and Natural Resources
Conference LocationSpringfield, IL
Keywordssoil conservation

Recent research on fuelwood production in North America has concentrated on the simple coppice method, a highly productive but capital-intensive method that provides few of the benefits desired by landowners. In contrast to the maximum-yield approach taken by advocates of the simple coppice method, the goal of this study was to design low-input woodland management methods that would provide benefits consistent with landowner objectives. In particular, the objective was to develop systems of fuelwood production that could also be used to control soil erosion on marginal farmland and to provide high-quality wildlife habitat. From an energy perspective, the strategy is to sacrifice high productivity for wider adoption, thereby compensating for lower yields.

A review of the historical and ecological literature suggested that some of the lesser-known methods of fuelwood production methods may be better suited to the objectives of current landowners than the simple coppice system. To test this idea, experimental woodlots based on two traditional European woodland management systems were established. One of the systems, coppice with standards, is related to the simple coppice method. Although the primary product of coppice with standards is fuelwood from the coppice component, some trees (the standards) are retained for multiple coppice rotations to provide timber, to sustain wildlife, and to provide aesthetic benefits. The other system, pasture with pollards, is a type of agroforestry in which fuelwood-producing trees (the pollards) form a broken canopy above an herbaceous pasture layer. Pollards are much like coppiced trees except that regeneration occurs from the top of permanent trunks 8-12 feet tall, thereby preventing livestock from damaging young sprouts. Preliminary growth and yield data indicate that native tree species respond well to these methods. Potential benefits and problems of the two methods are discussed. (author).

Short TitleWoody biomass production