4.4.1 Woody biomass
Well-managed forests can provide a sustainable fuel source, reducing atmospheric CO2 as the trees grow, storing it for up to a few centuries and providing a substitute for fossil fuel when felled.
In recent years there has been increased interest in woody crops planted and harvested entirely for energy production.
What is the most common management system for these types of woody crops?
The most common management system for these types of crop is short rotation forestry (SRF), and a less widespread variant known as short rotation coppicing (SRC). The ‘rotation’ is the periodic cutting of the wood every 8–20 years, with the trees then being re-planted or, for suitable SRC species, left to regrow from the stump after harvesting every 3–5 years.
The cellulose in plants that are non-woody is also used to provide fuel, and you’ll move on to this subject next.