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Farnham, United Kingdom

Leslie A.D.,University of Cumbria | Mencuccini M.,University of Edinburgh | Perks M.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change
Applied Energy | Year: 2012

Considerable potential exists in the UK for utilising woody biomass, grown under short rotation forestry management systems, to produce electricity or heat. There are benefits to using biomass in generating heat and power the main environmental benefit being from substituting for fossil fuel combustion and consequent carbon emissions. Woody biomass production in short rotation forestry involves growing single stemmed trees rather than coppice over rotations of between 10 and 15. years. Eucalypts are particularly suited to such biomass production as they exhibit relatively high wood density, have suitable chemical characteristics, exhibit low moisture content and can be easily harvested all year around using conventional machinery if single-stemmed growth form is maintained.The UK has a climate that is not well suited to the majority of eucalypts. However, there is a small number of eucalypt species that can withstand the stresses caused by frozen ground and desiccating winds or sub-zero temperatures that can occur. These species are from more southern latitudes and high altitude areas of Australia. However, even the most cold resistant species can be damaged by UK winter climate extremes and therefore careful matching of species to site environmental constraints is critical. Informed decision making is made problematic by the small area and limited distribution of current planting, although it is clear that particularly cold areas and for most species, sites with poor drainage should be generally avoided. This article provides a discussion of the potential of, and constraints to, using eucalypts for biomass in the UK and provides a tentative list of recommended species, their potential growth rates and their advantages and disadvantages. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.

Aylott M.J.,University of Southampton | Casella E.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change | Farrall K.,University of Southampton | Taylor G.,University of Southampton
Biofuels | Year: 2010

Background: Biomass has been identified as an important source of renewable energy. However, growing demand for dedicated energy crops could lead to conflicts with food production and ecosystem services. This study uses a geographic information systems-embedded modeling approach to assess the spatial supply of short-rotation coppice, taking into account social, economic and environmental constraints. Results: Results suggest that 7.5 million tons of biomass (from short-rotation coppice) is realistically available in England. Such production would require 0.8 million ha and could be grown almost entirely on poor quality marginal lands. Conclusion: We therefore conclude that short-rotation coppice energy crops have the potential to play an important role in meeting UK renewable energy targets without compromising environmental sustainability or food production. © 2010 Future Science Ltd.

Rajapaksha N.S.S.,University of Central Lancashire | Butt K.R.,University of Central Lancashire | Vanguelova E.I.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change | Moffat A.J.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change
Forest Ecology and Management | Year: 2013

Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) has been introduced to the UK as a method to increase woody biomass production. However, some SRF species have raised concerns about potential impacts on the environment. A largely unknown aspect of SRF is the quality and quantity of leaf litter, and its impact on soil fauna, of which the earthworm community is a major component. Earthworms have direct impacts on soil biogeochemistry of SRF systems, and the tree species can impact on the associated earthworm community. The aim of this study was to determine the effects of SRF species on earthworm diversity and population growth. Earthworm surveys and a litter mass loss study were conducted at a range of SRF trial sites. Associated laboratory experiments were also carried out to examine the direct effect of SRF litter on earthworm growth and reproduction. Overall survey results suggested that SRF affects earthworm community development depending on tree species, soil type and land-use history. Six years of Eucalyptus nitens development on a former arable loamy soil significantly (p<0.05) increased earthworm density (152m-2) compared with similarly derived Eucalyptus gunnii (47m-2) and an arable control (51m-2). However, 5years of similar Eucalyptus development on a reclaimed site supported earthworm community development similar to the adjacent pasture control. A leaf litter mass loss (litterbag) study at an ex-arable site with high earthworm density (298m-2) and species richness (n=6) suggested that leaf litter removal was 100% for Fraxinus excelsior after 9months whilst Acer pseudoplatanus, Betula pendula, Castanea sativa and E. nitens lost more than 85% mass over 12months. Laboratory feeding experiments with hatchling and mature Lumbricus terrestris, a deep burrowing earthworm species, showed that the litter of non-native E. nitens supported earthworm production rates similar to those of some native SRF species such as B. pendula, and F. excelsior. Alnus glutinosa yielded the highest earthworm production whilst C. sativa had the lowest compared with other selected SRF species. In terms of development and maintenance of earthworm populations, this work suggests use of rapid-growing native tree species such as A. glutinosa, B. pendula, F. excelsior and non-native E. nitens for SRF production. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

Tubby K.V.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change | Webber J.F.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change
Forestry | Year: 2010

The predicted change in our climate is likely to inflict particular stresses on the trees and other plants constituting urban and peri-urban greening schemes, and this may increase their susceptibility to certain pests and diseases. This review highlights the various ways in which climate change may affect the health of urban trees in Britain. In summary, climate change may alter patterns of disturbance from pathogens and herbivorous insects through physiological changes in the host plant. The expected changes in temperature and moisture availability will also directly affect the development and survival of the pests and pathogens, and their natural enemies, competitors and vectors. This may alter the impact of native pests and diseases and increase the populations of some species not currently recognized as pests to epidemic proportions. Perhaps most significantly, climate change is very likely to enhance the suitability of our climate for a range of non-native pests and pathogens, many of which are brought in unknowingly on infected planting stock sourced for new greening schemes. The global trade in 'plants for planting' is a recognized pathway for the accidental introduction of pests and pathogens even though plant health legislation exists to minimize such accidental introductions. The limitations of the procedures currently in place are discussed. © 2010 Institute of Chartered Foresters. All rights reserved.

Thomas H.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change | Nisbet T.,Center for Forestry and Climate Change
Journal of Flood Risk Management | Year: 2012

Very little large woody debris (LWD) is present in UK river systems due to its removal from watercourses mainly for flood defence and angling purposes. Some researchers now believe that restoring LWD dams in rivers can aid in flood retention, improve habitat and biodiversity, and help improve water quality and reduce sediment transport. This study was carried out to model the potential impact of restoring five LWD dams into a small Welsh tributary within an existing area of flood plain woodland on flood flows. The model results suggest that the dams could increase water levels sufficiently during the design 1-in-100 year flow to reconnect the channel with its flood plain. The model predicts as much as a 2.1m/s reduction in flow velocities behind the dams. Both factors contribute to the delaying of the flood peak by up to 15min over a 0.5-km reach. The results support the use of LWD dams as a viable soft engineering technique for complementing existing flood defences and aiding in downstream flood mitigation, although to be effective at a larger scale would require an extensive series of dams across the upper and middle reaches of a catchment. © 2012 Crown copyright Journal of Flood Risk Management © 2012 The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management.

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