Forestry Investment – The UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced around £1.5 million of funding for a three year research project to examine the feasibility of short rotation forestry as a viable renewable energy.
The project will establish a number of sites where intensive research will be carried out and operational-scale plots will be planted. The species will include both native and naturalised broadleaved trees along with other species of timber that have the potential to be used for biomass. One such example is eucalyptus.
The operational-scale plots will be monitored to establish the environmental impacts
and sustainability of short rotation forestry as a renewable energy source. Defra has stated its intention to work closely with the Forestry Commission England to set up the
project. The Forestry Commission will provide ongoing monitoring and scientific data on hydrology, carbon balance, economic viability, biodiversity, and possible environmental
risks such as the impact of the project on landscape and biodiversity
It is not just England that seeks answers as to whether forestry is a viable source of renewable energy: monitoring and evaluation will also be linked to the results of short rotation forestry trials in Scotland which are currently being established.