A rapid increase of agricultural land cultivated with Short Rotation Coppices (SRC) is projected in several European countries. SRC mostly with poplars or willows shall serve the demand of biomass for heat and/or electricity.
A large-scale shift from “conventional” arable crops to SRC will have implications on a range of environmental issues. As a perennial crop, SRC differs from arable crops in physical traits and management practices. Results so far imply many positive environmental benefits due to SRC implementation, but this depends on the existing or previous land-use, the scale of planting and the management practices applied.
The project ‘RATING-SRC’ is aimed at evaluate the impact of SRC –positive and negative– on soil, water, biodiversity and landscape issues and also to propose ways to mitigate negative and increase positive impacts. Moreover, factors strengthening SRC as a sustainable energy generation system as the recycling of byproducts back to SRC will be considered in the general evaluation of SRC environmental impact.
“Reducing environmental impacts of SRC through evidence-based integrated decision support tools” (RATING-SRC) is a project funded via the ERA-NET Bioenergy Joint Call “Short Rotation Coppice” under the topic “Environmental aspects of SRC”. Institutions from 2 ERA-NET Bioenergy countries (Sweden, Germany) are participating in RATING-SRC. The Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten) is financing the Swedish partners SLU and Chalmers and German Ministry of Agriculture (BMELV), through its Agency for Renewable Resources (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V. – FNR) are funding the respective partnes from Germany vTI (in cooperation with Göttingen Soil Initiative (GBI e.V.); University of Göttingen, Faculty of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, Dep. of Soil Science of Temperate and Boreal Ecosystems (PGZ); Bureau for Applied Landscape Ecology and Scenario Analysis, Göttingen (BALSA); University of Applied Science Eberswalde (HNEE, FB2);University of Rostock and Biop Institute. The project will last from September 2008 until August 2011.
ERA-NET Bioenergy is a network of national government agencies and ministries responsible for coordinating and funding national research efforts into bioenergy. The countries participating in ERA-NET Bioenergy are Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UK. The goal of this network is to strengthen national bioenergy research programmes through enhancing cooperation and coordination between national agencies.