Productivity of low-input short-rotation coppice American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.) grown at different planting densities as a bioenergy feedstock over two rotation cycles

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Short rotation coppice culture of woody crop species (SRWCs) has long been considered a sustainable method of producing biomass for bioenergy that does not compete with current food production practices. In this study, we grew American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis L.) for nine years corresponding to two rotation cycles (first rotation (FR) = 2010–2014, second rotation (SR) = 2015–2019). This was done at varying tree planting densities (1250, 2500, 5000, and 10,000 trees per hectare (tph)) on a degraded agricultural landscape under low-input (e.g. no fertilizer and low herbicide application) culture, in the Piedmont physiographic region of eastern North Carolina. Tree productivity was proportional to planting density, with the highest cumulative aboveground wood biomass in the 10,000 tph treatment, at 23.2 ± 0.9 Mg ha−1 and 39.1 ± 2.4 Mg ha−1 in the first and second rotations, respectively. These results demonstrate increasing productivity under a low-input SRWC management regime over the first two rotations. Biomass partitioning was strongly affected by planting density during FR, allocating less biomass to stems relative to other plant parts at low planting density (44–59% from 1250 to 10,000 tph, respectively). This effect disappeared during SR, however, with biomass partitioning to stems ranging from 74 to 79% across planting densities. Taken together, our results suggest that American sycamore has the potential to be effectively managed as a bioenergy feedstock with low input culture on marginal agriculture lands.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Ile, OJ; Aguilos, M; Morkoc, S; Minick, K; Domec, JC; King, JS

Published Date

  • March 1, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 146 /

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1873-2909

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0961-9534

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.biombioe.2021.105983

Citation Source

  • Scopus