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John Kort, Agroforestry Development Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada , John.Kort@agr.gc.ca (Presenter)

 

Agroforestry is practiced across the Canadian Prairies in the form of windbreaks, riparian buffers and upland buffers of various kinds that perform important environmental functions. Woody biomass from these systems is therefore opportunity biomass, although agroforestry systems can be designed for purpose-grown biomass. The availability of hardy willow or poplar species and clones has resulted in research-scale and pilot-scale woody biomass plantations. The Agroforestry Development Centre (ADC) of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has conducted studies and initiatives to evaluate and promote the use of agroforestry biomass. This presentation will describe the selection of poplar and willow, including native species (Populus balsamifera, Salix discolor, etc.), the management and harvest of native willow stands and planted buffers, the use of baled willow and other woody biomass in a small-scale biomass burner and the evaluation of other woody species for biomass production under local climatic and edaphic conditions. Research to use remote sensing as a way to quantify agroforestry biomass will also be described. The selection of native poplar and willow clones involves the analysis of genetic, phenological and physiological variability from P. balsamifera and S. discolor collected from a wide native range, combined with controlled crossing of selected parents. The design, management and harvest of riparian and upland buffers have been studied for their re-growth after coppicing, their nutrient use and their response to management. An ADC initiative to install an efficient Köb biomass furnace, fed by wood chips harvested from local agroforestry buffers will also be described.