Energy Production in Irrigated, Intensively Cultured Plantations of Populus 'Tristis #1' and Jack Pine

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Energy budgets were prepared for irrigated, intensively cultured plantations of Populus 'Tristis #1' and jack pine in northern Wisconsin. Energy inputs into biomass production (site preparation, fertilization, weed control, irrigation, and harvesting) and into material processing (chipping and drying) amounted to about 20 percent of the total energy at age 10. The available energy (after deducting energy inputs) in 10-year-old plantations of P. 'Tristis #1' and jack pine was 2,353 and 1,863 MBtu/ha, respectively, which is equivalent to the energy in 430 and 340 barrels of oil. This was 43 and 13 percent more energy than that reported for highly productive, nonirrigated, intensively cultured stands in eastern United States. Net energy returns were linearly and positively correlated with energy invested in both irrigated and nonirrigated, intensively cultured plantations and a naturally regenerated forest. This indicates that energy invested in irrigation brings commensurate energy returns. The available energy from forest biomass, which is negligible when compared with the total energy consumption in the United States, could be increased by a widespread application of existing agronomic technology. Forest Sci. 25:383-392.

Keywords: Calorimetry; Pinus banksiana; biomass production; energy production efficiency; net energy; whole-tree utilization

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: North Central Forest Experiment Station, USDA Forest Service, P.O. Box 898, Rhinelander, Wisconsin 54501

Publication date: September 1, 1979

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