Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Perennial Energy Crops Could Be Good For Carbon Savings And For Wildlife

Date:
September 29, 2009
Source:
University, Newcastle
Summary:
Growing the energy crops short rotation coppice (SRC) willow and miscanthus grass could help the United Kingdom to reduce carbon emissions and benefit wildlife, according to researchers.

Fields of miscanthus in the English landscape.
Credit: Image courtesy of University, Newcastle

Growing the energy crops short rotation coppice (SRC) willow and miscanthus grass could help the UK to reduce carbon emissions and benefit wildlife, according to researchers from the UK Research Councils’ Rural Economy and Land Use Programme.

Dr Angela Karp at Rothamsted Research led an interdisciplinary team from the universities of East Anglia and Exeter, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, in a major research project to identify the effects of increasing the amount of land used to grow these new crops. Their calculations suggest that planting biomass crops to generate electricity does lead to net savings in greenhouse gases, compared with current emissions.

SRC willow and miscanthus are already grown over c17,000 hectares in the UK to provide electricity and heat. Government policies aim to encourage up to around one million hectares, some of which could also be processed into transport fuels. But concerns have been raised about the likely effects on farmland biodiversity, water resources and familiar landscapes, as well as the pressures on land used for growing food crops.

The researchers found that the SRC willow in particular actually had positive effects for butterflies, some invertebrates and most bird species. Looking at water usage, they found that SRC willow is similar to cereal crops, while miscanthus is more comparable to woodlands.

The team also consulted members of the public about the changes to landscape appearance that would result from growing these novel crops, using virtual-reality computer simulations. Most people showed little concern about the aesthetic effects of the planting, although some expressed worries about lorry movements and processing units.

Dr Angela Karp said: “Fields of SRC willow and the exotic grass miscanthus are still quite unfamiliar in the UK countryside and it is important to look at all the implications of increasing the hectarage.

“Our results suggest that there is definite potential for growing more of them, without negative effects, although we do find that sensitive plantation design would be beneficial, both for wildlife and for aesthetic impact.

“One of the outcomes from our project is detailed mapping across England, which identifies areas which could be suitable for growing energy crops. This shows that we could meet government objectives of growing 350,000 hectares of these for electricity without impacting on food production. However, to meet an additional 750,000 for transport fuels would increase pressure on available land.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University, Newcastle. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University, Newcastle. "Perennial Energy Crops Could Be Good For Carbon Savings And For Wildlife." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916092755.htm>.
University, Newcastle. (2009, September 29). Perennial Energy Crops Could Be Good For Carbon Savings And For Wildlife. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916092755.htm
University, Newcastle. "Perennial Energy Crops Could Be Good For Carbon Savings And For Wildlife." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090916092755.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins