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Dual-Cropping Loblolly Pine for Biomass Energy and Conventional Wood Products

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Southern pine stands have the potential to provide significant feedstocks for the growing biomass energy and biofuel markets. Although initial feedstocks likely will come from low-value small-diameter trees, understory vegetation, and slash, a sustainable and continuous supply of biomass is necessary to support and grow a wood bioenergy market. As long as solidwood products are more valuable, bioenergy production will not be the primary market for southern pine. A study exploring a dual-cropping system for southern pine bioenergy and solidwood products was begun in 1982 in Louisiana to determine the phosphorus (P) nutritional requirements of the system. Fertilization of 60 kg ha−1 of P was required to produce 90% of the maximum volume at the age of 22 years. Direct-seeding pine in the interrows of a traditional pine plantation produced about 10.2 Mg ha−1 of biomass for energy at the age of 5 years but had no lasting effect on the planted pine height, diameter, or standing volume. The system is a viable method to produce both bioenergy and solidwood products. Herbaceous competition control and nitrogen (N) fertilization likely would make the system even more productive and profitable.
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Keywords: competition; fertilization; phosphorus; stand development

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 February 2008

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