Tree Species, Density, and Fertilizer Effects on Woody Biomass Production on Mined Lands: Year Three Report

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Virginia Tech. Powell River Project


Under-utilized, previously mined lands may be used to produce woody biomass materials for energy production and C sequestration. Past research trials have shown that tree growth on mined lands can be highly productive if suitable reclamation practices are used. This study tests the productivity of woody biomass plantations on previously mined lands after ripping to reduce soil compaction, using four species treatments under two planting densities. This report summarizes the establishment procedure, growth of trees after three years, and the effects of a fertilizer treatment applied after year two. At year three, black locust continues to have the highest volume and biomass of any treatment and high density treatments have greater per-ha volume and biomass compared to low density treatments. For black locust, sycamore, and hybrid poplar, year three per-tree volume growth increments were greater than year two and fertilizer nominally increased growth in year three.