Short Rotation Crops for Bioenergy Systems

Countries Australia, Brazil, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, United Kingdom, and the USA


Work in the current triennium will be based on the premise that in many countries biomass demand for energy will enter a period of rapid expansion as a way to ensure sustainable and secure energy sources. Short Rotation Crops (SRC) can become a plausible energy source if production systems can be optimised economically and environmentally. New science, tools, and technology must be developed without delay to support this era of rapid expansion. Such developments will ensure that suitable production systems are established and can be relied on to help achieve the energy policy targets in many countries.

The objective of the Task is to acquire, synthesise, and transfer theoretical and practical knowledge of sustainable short rotation biomass production systems and thereby to enhance market development and large-scale implementation in collaboration with the various sectors involved. The Task also aims to improve the awareness of biomass production potential and to promote the use of biomass for energy in participating countries.

The Task is confined to short rotation crops that entirely or by means of residuals may provide biomass to the energy market, and comprises herbaceous and woody crops in farming systems and plantation forests grown on short rotations. Woody crops include coppice systems and also fast-growing single- stem plantations (rotation period 6 to 12 years). These short rotation systems usually employ willow, hybrid poplar, and Eucalyptus species and produce large quantities of biomass suitable for energy purposes. In many instances, they form an important component of nutrient cycling and thus may play an important role in environmental management.