Where energy comes from the field

It might be interesting for the town of rodental to become a plantation owner? A question, which the green faction had brought to the meeting of the building senate on tuesday, led the senate into the green. The short-rotation plantation that was inspected by the members is located between waldsachsen and kipfendorf. What sounds like rodental is actually coburg. The energy forest in question is located in their city area.

The land, which covers around five hectares, is nevertheless ideally suited as an example for the production of renewable energy sources. Frank burger from the landesanstalt fur wald und forstwirtschaft (LWF) informed the senate about the possibility of generating energy through short-rotation plantations, as this form of land use is called.

Rising fuel prices led to a more intensive search for alternative energy sources in the mid-1990s. Wood as a renewable raw material moved into focus. In 1995, the LWF established this test plot near waldsachsen to find out which increments could provide fast-growing wood species.

"Some of the flat land is harvested every five years, the other every ten years", explains frank burger, who holds a doctorate in forestry. The way the middle forest was managed in earlier centuries, namely with manual labor, was still the way harvesting was done at waldsachsen in 1995. Farmers, working on behalf of the machinery ring, set about cutting down the ten-year-old trees, which are then processed into wood chips for energy production. This is no longer the way things are done. It would not be profitable.

One of the first flats in bavaria

In 1995, the test site near waldsachsen was one of the first in bavaria to grow wood for energy production. Burger assumes that about ten to twelve tons of wood per hectare and year will grow back on the flat land. This growth is possible because the moist site provides optimal conditions for fast-growing tree species such as balsam poplar, aspen, basket willow and black alder.

Today, the trees are felled by machine, removed by grapple and processed into chips. The energy yield is impressive. According to frank burger’s calculations, the annual increase in wood per hectare corresponds to about 5,000 to 6,000 liters of heating oil. According to the forestry scientist, the wood obtained in this way is hardly worse than wood that is harvested in a "normal" forest forest is felled.

There is currently a lot of wood that is being felled because drought and bark oats love to kill many trees. Therefore, the price of wood is currently in the basement and the market for chips is oversupplied. Because the last harvest at waldsachsen was in 2017, the next harvest won’t be for a few more years. Then the market could look quite different again.

No specific sites have yet been selected in the rodental urban area. But in principle, the senate could well imagine this form of use, which requires little maintenance – also to make rodental’s ecological footprint a little less deep. The stands on such plantations are founded with cuttings.

After harvesting, the tree species used set on the stock and sprout again without the need for replanting.

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