Short rotation coppice culture of willows and poplars as energy crops on metal contaminated agricultural soils

A Ruttens, J Boulet, N Weyens, K Smeets, K Adriaensen, E Meers, S Van Slycken, F Tack, Linda Meiresonne, T Thewys, N Witters, R Carleer

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    Phytoremediation, more precisely phytoextraction, has been placed forward as an environmental friendly remediation technique, that can gradually reduce increased soil metal concentrations, in particular the bioavailable fractions. The aim of this study was to investigate the possibilities of growing willows and poplars under short rotation coppice (SRC) on an acid, poor, sandy metal contaminated soil, to combine in this way soil remediation by phytoextraction on one hand, and production of biomass for energy purposes on the other. Above ground biomass productivities were low for poplars to moderate for willows, which was not surprising, taking into account the soil conditions that are not very favorable for growth of these trees. Calculated phytoextraction efficiency was much longer for poplars than these for willows. We calculated that for phytoextraction in this particular case it would take at least 36 years to reach the legal threshold values for cadmium, but in combination with production of feedstock for bioenergy processes, this type of land use can offer an alternative income for local farmers. Based on the data of the first growing cycle, for this particular case, SRC of willows should be recommended.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational journal of phytoremediation
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)194-207
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2011

    Thematic list

    • Pollution

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B390-refinement


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