Increasing the Value Recovery from Short-Rotation Coppice Harvesting

Stefan Paula Patrick Vanbeveren, Natascia Magagnotti, Raffaele Spinelli

Abstract


Farmers are reluctant to establish short-rotation coppice because too many uncertainties remain about its economic feasibility. Up to now, most progress has been accomplished by increasing plantation yields through genetic improvement and by reducing management costs through mechanization. In contrast, the potential increase of value recovery has received much less attention. We therefore compared whole-tree chipping with integrated harvesting to test whether more profit could be made by producing pulpwood logs and wood chips, rather than wood chips only. The two systems were compared side-by-side with identical machinery on the same field. Chip production cost was higher for integrated harvesting (15 € Mg-1), because the system was less productive (9 Mg h-1), as compared with whole-tree chipping (9 € Mg-1 and 25 Mg h-1). Pulpwood log production only occurred with the integrated harvesting system, at a cost of 8 € Mg-1. Integrated harvesting incurred higher production costs, but also accrued better value recovery. Under current market conditions, the two systems offered similar profits, in the vicinity of 5000 € ha-1. However, integrated harvesting offered higher flexibility, with a potentially better resilience to market fluctuations.

Keywords


Integrated harvesting; Poplar; Productivity; Whole-tree chipping; Wood chips

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Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022, hubbe@ncsu.edu; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, lucian.lucia@gmail.com URLs: bioresourcesjournal.com; http://ncsu.edu/bioresources ISSN: 1930-2126