Sustainable biomass production in agroforestry systems
de Gooijer, H.
Research conducted in 2007 through 2009 on the occasional biomass harvest from willow rings could provide balanced co-existence between agriculture and wetlands. This would provide biomass feedstock while preserving the wetland for future generations. The focus of the research will be on the sustainable production of biomass in agroforestry systems. The goals of this research project are to determine the impact of biomass harvest on re-growth of willow rings; evaluate the feasibility of mechanical harvest using a bio-baler; determine the biomass yield and production costs; and quantify fuel characteristics of harvested willow. Results have shown that the bio-baler tested can efficiently harvest biomass from willow rings at a rate of 6.5 tonnes/hour. The re-growth of the willows was rapid and was not impacted by the harvest. There are thousands of hectares of wetlands and surrounding willow rings available on the Canadian landscape for harvesting at a reasonable cost of production. The willow ring biomass harvested is suitable for small scale heating systems. Additional research will be conducted on the utilization of the biomass harvested from willow rings as a bioenergy source to supply a biomass boiler for heating purposes at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) Agroforestry Development Centre (ADC) in Indian Head, Saskatchewan. This research will include the economics and environmental aspects and will consider the life cycle analysis.
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