Case studies

The Working Party is developing a list of case studies that demonstrate the different ways in which poplar and willow are being used to bring about environmental benefit. Projects are listed by category of environmental use.

If you would like to offer an example of the commercial or demonstration scale use of poplar or willow for any of the purposes described above, please complete this form and return to the Technical Secretariat.

 

Bank stabilisation

Photographs from http://www.gdc.govt.nz/cons/soilcon/willows.html

Combating desertification and salinisation

Category of environmental use
Combating desertification and salinisation
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Commercial application
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Saline soil erosion
Brief description
The purpose of the Fast Growing Tree Project is to develop a "natural resource" for wood production and to establish plantations on the saline and alkaline degraded soils of the Ararat Valley, which are currently unsuitable for agriculture. In addition, these fast growing poplars may be used for biomass for energy, reforestation, and erosion control. The goal of this project is to establish 2,000 hectares of hybrid poplar plantations in Armenia over a 10 year period.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Amavir, Ararat Valley, Armenia19941998ongoing
Relevant reports or website information
http://www.aesa.org/fast_tree.htm
Contact for further information
Areg Gharabegian, (areg.gharabegian@parsons.com)

 

Shelterbelts and windbreaks

An overview of recent installations of willow as snow fence in NE USA.Download 

Soil rehabilitation

Category of environmental use
Soil rehabilitation
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Research + demonstration
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Heavy metal pollution from waste disposal
Brief description
In April 1996 an experimental short rotation culture of 17 poplar and two willow clones was established at an industrial site in Boom (province of Antwerpen, Belgium) on a former waste disposal site. The plantation (planting density of 10,000 plants per ha) was coppiced after the establishment year (in December 1996), and subsequently after a first rotation of four years (January 2001) and a second rotation of three years (February 2004). The plantation served as a practical demonstration trial of bioenergy culture at one side, and as an experimental platform for scientific research on the growth, development, productivity and yield at the other side. As the site was moderately polluted with heavy metals, aspects of phytoremediation have been taken into account in our research activities. Phytoextraction potential was found to be primarily determined by metal concentration and by biomass production, with large clonal differences. Populus trichocarpa clone Fritzi Pauley accumulated 1.4 kg ha-1 of aluminium over two years. P. nigra clone Wolterson and P. trichocarpa x P. balsamifera clone Balsam Spire showed a relatively high accumulation of cadmium and zinc, i.e. averaging respectively 47 and 57 g ha-1 for cadmium and 2.4. and 2.0 kg ha-1 for zinc over two years. The most relevant results have been published in a set of two papers by I. Laureysens et al. in the journal Environmental Pollution.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Boom, province of AntwerpAugust 19951996Ongoing
Relevant reports or website information
http://bio-www.uia.ac.be/bio/pleco/THEMES/BIOMASS/biomass.html
Contact for further information
Prof. Dr. Reinhart CEULEMANS, Department of Biology, University of Antwerpen, Research Group of Plant and Vegetation Ecology, Campus Drie Eiken, Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk, Belgium. Ph.: + 32-3-820 22 56 Fax : + 32-3-820 22 71 (reinhart.ceulemans@ua.ac.be)

 

Soil Rehabilitation

Designing an Evapotranspiration Cover Using Shrub Willow and Organic

Amendment on the Solvay Waste-beds in Syracuse, NY. Download 

 

Buffer zones

Category of environmental use
Buffer zones
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
commercial application
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Diffuse pollution
Brief description
Research on water balance and transpiration of a poplar plantation. Research on nutrient cycle, nutrient stand deposition, nutrient soil percolation of a poplar plantation; ability of prevention of nitrate percolation to ground water.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Balegem, Belgium19941984 
Relevant reports or website information
Meiresonne, L., Nadezhdina, N., Cermak, J., Van Slycken, J., Ceulemans, R., 1999. Measured sap flow and simulated transpiration from a poplar stand in Flanders (Belgium). Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 96: 165 ¿ 179.
Meiresonne, L., Nadezhdina, N., Cermak, J., Van Slycken, J., Ceulemans, R., 1999. Transpiration of a poplar stand: model calibration and validation by soil water and sap flow measurements. In: J. Feyen & K. Wiyo (eds.), Modelling of transport processes in soils at various scales in time and space. International Workshop of EurAgEng¿s Field of Interest on soil and Water, Leuven (Belgium), 24 ¿ 26 November 1999, Wageningen Pers, The Netherlands, 406-415, ISBN 90-74134-76-9, pp. 406 ¿ 415
Meiresonne, L., De Schrijver, A., De Vos, B., 2004. Nutrient cycling in a poplar plantation (Populus trichocarpa x P. deltoides cv. Beaupré) on former agricultural land in northern Belgium. In preparation.
Contact for further information
Linda Meiresonne, Gaverstraat 4, B-9500 Geraardsbergen, Belgium (Linda.MEIRESONNE@inbo.be)

 

Contaminated sites

Category of environmental use
Contaminated site
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Research, contract with an industrial client
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Preventing leaching of copper, chromium and arsenic (CCA) into local stream from a waste sawdust pile
Brief description
The sawdust and yard waste pile is around 1 ha. It has been leaching CCA arising from the preservatives used on the wood, for some years and the firm has chosen to use phytoremediation using poplars in contrast to capping to reduce / prevent leaching from the pile. The trial has been running for 3 years. The trees are due for coppicing in this next season, the plant material being disposed of under controlled conditions
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Kopu, New Zealand20012002ongoing
Relevant reports or website information
Not available, but will try to release some details of the project onto our website within the year.
Contact for further information
Ian McIvor (imcivor@hortresearch.co.nz)

 

Wastewater management/ treatment

Category of environmental use
Wastewater management/ treatment
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Research plots randomised within a bigger (8.0ha) plantation.
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Wastewater from a small local municipal treatment works where the incoming sewage undergoes primary treatment only.
Brief description
Treatment plots (200M2) are located within a much larger plantation. There are six wastewater treatments with increasing volumes of wastewater applied and six further treatments where application at a lower rate will be applied in the dormant season as well.
Regular sampling of water leaching from each plot will be undertaken and with details of nutrient loading in the waste and removals in the harvested crop nutrient balances can be calculated.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Greyabbey, Northern IrelandSpring 2003Spring 2004Winter 2010
Relevant reports or website information
Contact for further information
Alastair McCracken (Alistair.McCracken@dardni.gov.uk)

 

Category of environmental use
Wastewater management/ treatment
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Commercial application, Research
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Wastewater from the municipal wastewater treatment plant of the town Enköping treated on 76-ha willow plantation
Brief description
In Enköping, a town with 25000 inhabitants in central Sweden, the very N-rich wastewater coming from dewatering of sludge is distributed to a neighbouring 76-ha willow plantation during the summer period. The wastewater is pumped into lined storage ponds during wintertime and used for irrigation of willows during summer. Irrigation is conducted for around 120 days per year and the total amounts of N and P that is treated by the system is 12 t N and 0.2 t P per year, with irrigation of 200000 m3 wastewater, 16000 m3 of which is water coming from dewatering of sludge after sedimentation and centrifuge. Lysimeter studies and field experiments have shown that the N retention in SRWC can be up to 200 kg N ha-1 yr-1, due to accumulation in plant tissues, denitrification and long term binding of N into the soil. Furthermore, N leaching losses are negligible after the first year of establishment. N2O-fluxes are also monitored for estimations of contribution to the greenhouse effect.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Enköping, Sweden19992000Ongoing
Relevant reports or website information
Aronsson P. Nitrogen retention in vegetation filters in short-rotation willow coppice. Doctoral thesis, Silvestria 161, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Short Rotation Forestry, 2000.
Ioannis Dimitriou, Pär Aronsson. Nitrogen leaching from Short-Rotation Willow Coppice after intensive irrigation with wastewater Biomass and Bioenergy, Vol 26/5 pp 433-441, 2004
Contact for further information
Pär Aronsson, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Par.Aronsson@lto.slu.se)

Dimitriou Ioannis, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (jannis:dimitriou@lto.slu.se)

 

Category of environmental use
Wastewater management/ treatment
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Commercial application, Research
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Landfill leachate treatment on short-rotation willow coppice
Brief description
Landfill leachate that is stored in lined ponds at RagnSells landfill in Högbytorp is being irrigated into a 6.5-ha short-rotation willow coppice. The water is irrigated with sprinklers in the field and contains high ammonium and chloride concentrations thath can be hazardous to the plants. Biomass measurements in-situ and pot trials for identification of plant stress symptoms, clone selection and estimation of irrigation regimes were some of the methods conducted for better management of the soil-plant system.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Högbytorp, Sweden20012001-2002Ongoing
Relevant reports or website information
I. Dimitriou, P. Aronsson and M. Weih. Evaluation of leaf length and fluctuating asymmetry as stress indicators after irrigation of willow with landfill leachate. Proceedings of the ¿Sardinia 2003, Ninth International Waste Managemnt and Landfill Symposium¿, Sardinia, Italy, 2003, pp. 594-595 Eva Wall. Optimised treatment of landfill leachate in willow phyto-remediation systems (in Swedish). Master of Science Program in Aquatic and Environmental Engineering, Uppsala University, 2004
Contact for further information
Pär Aronsson, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Par.Aronsson@lto.slu.se)

Dimitriou Ioannis, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (jannis:dimitriou@lto.slu.se)

 

Category of environmental use
Wastewater management/ treatment
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Commercial application, Research
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Log yard run-off treatment on short rotation willow coppice
Brief description
Large quantities of wastewater are produced in Heby sawmill, central Sweden, after wet storage (sprinkling) of wood. Around 60000 m3 per year of log yard run-off are recycled to a 1-ha short-rotation willow coppice field and an approximately 0.5-ha field with grass. That corresponds to an irrigation rate to short-rotation willow coppice of about 4000-4500 mm per year (33-38 mm per day for 120 irrigation days), which is a very high irrigation rate. Experiments in lysimeters and sampling and measurements in the field have shown a substantial retention of TOC, P and of phenolic compounds in the soil. Furthermore, the growth of SRWC in field does not seem to be negatively affected
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Heby, Sweden20012001-2002Ongoing
Relevant reports or website information
Maria Jonsson, Ioannis Dimitriou, Pär Aronsson and Torbjörn Elowson. Effects of soil type, irrigation volume and plant species on treatment of log yard run-off in lysimeters. Water Research 2004, 38 (16), pp. 3473-3644
Maria Jonsson. Wet storage of Roundwood. Effects on wood properties and treatment of run-off water. Doctoral thesis, Silvestria 319, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 2004.
Contact for further information
Pär Aronsson, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Par.Aronsson@lto.slu.se)
Dimitriou Ioannis, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (jannis:dimitriou@lto.slu.se)

 

 

Category of environmental use
Wastewater management/ treatment
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Commercial application, Research
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Application of mixtures of sewage sludge and bottom-ash after establishment or harvest to short rotation willow coppice as a means of reuse and disposal.
Brief description
The application of municipal sewage sludge mixed with bottom ash from power plants is a common practice for fertilisation of short rotation willow coppice in Sweden. Every year around 2000 ha of newly established or newly harvested willow plantations are being fertilised with sludge-ash mixtures. The mixture is a balanced fertiliser and is applied every 3-4 years in amounts based on P (22 kg P ha-1 yr-1). Experiments conducted aim to investigate effects of that practice on heavy metal accumulation and uptake and on biomass produced after applications of the mixtures.Effects on metal phytoavailability and how this is affected by changes of pH and organic matter (as a consequence of sludge-ash applications), and their effects on plant uptake are also under investigation. Results have shown that biomass production increases after fertilisation with moderate amounts of sludge-ash mixtures, and that changes of metal phytoavailability are not reflected to the heavy metal concentrations in plant tissues.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Sweden1990's1990'sOngoing
Relevant reports or website information
Ioannis Dimitriou, Pär Aronsson, Anneli Tamm. Application of sludge and wood-ash mixtures to energy forestry plantations (Salix) used as vegetation filters: effects on heavy metal status of the soil, fuel quality and biomass production. Proceedings of the ¿7th International Conference on the Biochemistry of Elements, Uppsala, Sweden¿, 2002.
Ioannis Dimitriou. Effects on heavy metal status in the soil and wood after application of sludge and wood-ash mixtures to energy forest (Salix sp.). Proceedings of the 2nd European Bioremediation Conference, Chania, Greece, June 30 - July 4, 2003, pp. 389-392.
www.akerbransle.com
Contact for further information
Pär Aronsson, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Par.Aronsson@lto.slu.se)
Dimitriou Ioannis, Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (jannis:dimitriou@lto.slu.se)

Kurth Perttu , Dep. of Short Rotation Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences(Kurth.Perttu@lto.slu.se)

 

 

 

Category of environmental use – select from list provided below
Wastewater managment
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Commercial
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Wastewater from a milk processing and bakery facility
Brief description

The milk processing facility and bakery has no connection to the sewerage system and formally tankered partially treated wastewater 12 km to the nearest wastewater treatment facility. Since April 2008, the wastewater has been pumped 1500m to a neighbouring farm where 12ha of willow were established in 2006. The wastewater is irrigated to about 7ha, the remainder being buffer and unirrigated corridor areas. Weekly wastewater production is around 400m3 per week. Annual nitrogen loading will be around 150kg ha-1 and phorphorus loading about 6kg per year.
Wastewater applicaton is controlled by soil moisture. Up to nine days wastewater production can be stored in facility and fieldside tanks when soil mositure levels do not permit irrigation. The site is consented under the normal regulatory system.

LocationDate project discussions commenced(approx)Date PlantedDate completed (if relevant)
Northern IrelandJanuary 2007March 2006Commissioned April 2008
Relevant reports or website information
Project summaryDownload 
Contact for further information
Chris Johnston, Rural Generation (cjohnston@ruralgeneration.com)

Organic waste management

Category of environmental use
Organic waste management
Nature of project eg research, demonstration, commercial application
Research plots randomised within a bigger (80ha) commercial plantation.
Environmental impact remediated eg wastewater, diffuse pollution, soil borne heavy metals, river bank erosion, etc
Sewage sludge from local wastewater treatment works is being applied after harvest to Short Rotation Coppice willow as a means of reuse and disposal
Brief description
This project is a combination of commercial application and research. A local willow grower has been contracted by the water service provider to manage sewage sludge through application to short rotation coppice willow planted specifically for the purpose of receiving the sludge. The planting is made possible by the fee paid by the water service provider to the plantation owner for receiving the sludge. The wood will be used in an existing gasifier which supplies electricity to the national grid. Treatment plots (200m2) are located within a larger plantation, (80ha). There are six sludge treatments with increasing volumes of sludge applied. Regular sampling of water leaching from each plot will be undertaken and with details of nutrient loading in the sludge and removals in the harvested crop nutrient balances can be calculated.
LocationDate project discussions commenced (approx)Date plantedDate completed (if relevant)
Culmore Northern IrelandSpring 2003Spring 2004Winter 2010
Relevant reports or website information
Contact for further information
Michael Doran (info@ruralgeneration.com)

Other Projects

Title Country Contact
Phytoremediation of arable sludged soild (PASS)UKhttp://www.nottingham.ac.uk/environmental-modelling/PASS%20Home.htm
last updated:  Friday, October 12, 2012