Fertilizer and Density Treatment Effects on Woody Bioenergy Production on Mined Lands: Year Six Report

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Virginia Tech. Powell River Project


Planting woody biomass for energy production is investigated as a mine reclamation procedure to satisfy the SMCRA as an ongoing study at the Powell River Project. Annual remeasurement and analysis of three experimental biomass production sites on or adjacent to the Red River coal mine has been recast as an undergraduate research project. Currently examined are plantings of three tree species (Black locust, hybrid poplar, and American sycamore) planted at two densities, with and without fertilizer. Under nearly all species and density combinations, fertilized stands have significantly higher diameter and height growth, while density shows significant effects under few combinations of species and fertilizer regime. Findings further indicate that indicate that biomass growth continues to increase at an increasing rate after six years of growth on all sites and for all species.