Today more then ever before, world events are creating a new market for bioenergy. New mandates and incentive programs are forcing landowners to review biomass as an alternate land use. Regional areas are looking at the cost effective method of producing energy from biomass, and determining what exists naturally in the regional basket: a mix of trees, grasses, canes, wood waste, garbage and other organic matter.
Trees have long been recognized as a part of a biomass for bioenergy solution. Increasing interest in the development of renewable energy technology makes trees an even better choice for landowners. Because trees have been purpose grown in the Southeastern United States for generations for wood and fiber, the infrastructure already exists for the sustainable production, management, harvest and transportation systems needed to cost effectively move trees from plantation to destination.
Trees have an inherent benefit and economic advantage in comparison to other biomass crops. Many of these advantages are driven by the fact that trees can typically be harvested year-round and continue to grow year after year providing a living inventory of available biomass. In addition to an existing infrastructure, benefits include the following:
- Reduced storage and inventory holding costs;
- Improvement in the risk of annual yield fluctuations due to disease, drought, or pest pressures;
- Reduced need for cash outlay because harvest can be spread over time, rather than one short harvest period;
- Minimized environmental impact since multi-year rotations allow for periods with little disturbance;
- Landowner flexibility relative to other energy crops in terms of when to harvest and the multiple uses of the crop itself as wood fiber or biomass
ArborGen is uniquely positioned and ready to meet the growing demand for woody biomass for wood, fiber and energy. We are focused on improving the productivity of trees to meet the country’s renewable biomass needs through the application of several technologies. Our efforts concentrate on improvement through conventional breeding and the application of varietal technology as well as biotechnology. ArborGen uses these methods to increase the productivity of trees by improving the rate of growth, stress tolerance and wood quality. Our promise of More Wood, Less Land® focuses our scientists on the utilization of the newest technologies to ensure the best product on the market today. These products give the landowner flexibility to choose the end use for trees. The productivity levels of several of ArborGen’s products may significantly exceed those identified by the U.S. Department of Energy for the long term feasibility of renewable energy production.
As the marketplace for wood products evolves and the mission for reforestation becomes more critical to the environment, landowners must plan and manage stands of trees that sustain a balance among economic, environmental and social benefits. The FlexStand System, developed by ArborGen, does just that.
The FlexStand System is a way of planting and managing forests. It optimizes production of multiple products on the same acre by alternating rows of trees planted for sawtimber and biomass. This system allows for many configurations but the simple one is one row of sawtimber, one row of biomass and so on.
The FlexStand System capitalizes on advancements in forestry, increase production and quality of timber, and creates a forest that can be optimally managed for carbon sequestration and resource conservation.
For more information on the FlexStand System, click here.