Title: Early growth of invasive acacias as a potential biomass-for-energy source under Mediterranean conditions

Authors: Marta Carneiro; Rita Moreira; Jorge Gominho; Francisco Abreu; António Fabião

Addresses: Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, P-1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal ' Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, P-1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal ' Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, P-1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal ' Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, P-1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal ' Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, P-1349-017 Lisbon, Portugal

Abstract: Most of the short rotation energy coppices used in Northern and Central Europe may be of limited value under Mediterranean climates. Abandoned acacia stands with an invasive behaviour, of environmental concern in many Mediterranean countries, may perform better as biomass producers under summer drought than those coppices. Seedlings of invasive Acacia dealbata, A. melanoxylon and A. pycnantha were planted to test for early growth performance under rain-fed and irrigated conditions. Rooted cuttings of an E. globulus clone were also established as a reference for biomass production. Plants were harvested after one year, sorted by biomass components and oven-dried. Above-ground dry weight was calculated on an area basis, accounting for survival. A. dealbata and A. melanoxylon showed low survival and biomass production, even irrigated, whereas A. pycnantha had better survival and growth performance than eucalypt, even in rain-fed plots, suggesting potential for the harvest of this drought-adapted species as a biomass source.

Keywords: Acacia dealbata; Acacia melanoxylon; Acacia pycnantha; biomass sources; bioenergy; early growth; Eucalyptus globulus; invasive acacias; Mediterranean; summer drought; drought-adapted species.

DOI: 10.1504/IJARGE.2016.076901

International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 2016 Vol.12 No.2, pp.155 - 169

Available online: 01 Jun 2016 *

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