Biomass production potential of grey alder (Alnus incana
(L.) Moench.) in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe: A review
by Jürgen Aosaar*, Mats Varik, Veiko UriAbstract
Owing to its ability to produce large amounts of biomass in a short period of time, grey alder can be considered to be a prospective tree species for short-rotation forestry (SRF) in Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries. Relatively scanty data is available about grey alder yield and growth dynamics. Seven yield-tables from six countries and several published studies have been included in this review. The main aim of the review was to sum up and analyze published data; to evaluate the potential for biomass production and to summarize the existing relevant knowledge for giving recommendations about the optimal principles on managing alder stands. According to different yield-tables, the mean annual increment (MAI) of 20-year-old stands varied from 2.56 m3 ha 1 to 4.75 m3 ha 1 (dry matter). In favourable conditions, the growth of alder stands can be rapid and biomass production high. The highest woody biomass of annual production reported in literature amounts to 17 t ha 1 y 1. A rotation length of 15.20 years is recommended by the majority of authors. The rotation period is longer in northern countries (Norway, Finland) than in southern countries. According to yield-tables, it coincides with the start of the decrease in MAI in most cases. Approximately 60 t ha 1e90 t ha 1 of stemwood can be produced during one rotation. The density of the natural grey alder stand is typically very high. The optimal initial density of grey alder may not exceed 10,000 ha 1 in the case of plantations and the optimal number of trees per hectare before harvesting should range between 3000 ha 1 and
6000 ha 1.
Grey alder; Alnus incana; Biomass production; Short-rotation forestry; Stand density; Yield-table
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