Exploring market opportunities for Short Rotation Forestry in the current Irish wood processing and solid biofuel sectors. Part 2. Lessons from Oregon case study.

  • Ana De Miguel Department of Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford.
  • Matteo Sottocornola Department of Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford.
  • Tom Kent Department of Science, Waterford Institute of Technology, Cork Road, Waterford.
Keywords: Hybrid poplar, Populus, pulp, wood energy, wood market survey.

Abstract

Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) is the practice of cultivating fast-growing tree species mainly for the production of biomass. In Ireland, SRF rotation lengths are less than 20 years. SRF forest cover is expected to increase in response to the increasing demand for fibre products and renewable energy targets set by the European Union. Although Irish policy supports the establishment of SRF, prior research identified Irish forest industry concerns over the market opportunities for SRF, which may limit its establishment. A SRF market was successfully established in Oregon, U.S., mainly based on hybrid poplar (Populus spp.). A survey was carried out there and its results were supplemented by US-based literature. The objective was to benchmark conditions that facilitated market development in Oregon with current conditions in Ireland, to identify and describe gaps and opportunities that could be applied to growers and potential users of SRF in Ireland. The key success factors in growing and marketing SRF in Oregon were large-scale plantations, local supply chains, consistency of supply, FSC certification and the targeting of high-value products. Small-scale plantations and low-value product systems were unsuccessful in Oregon. However, liquid biofuels and payment for ecosystem services are new opportunities currently in development. These options could also be applied in Ireland to motivate SRF development and improve the sustainability of these plantations.
Published
2017-12-20
How to Cite
De Miguel, A., Sottocornola, M., & Kent, T. (2017). Exploring market opportunities for Short Rotation Forestry in the current Irish wood processing and solid biofuel sectors. Part 2. Lessons from Oregon case study. Irish Forestry Journal. Retrieved from https://journal.societyofirishforesters.ie/index.php/forestry/article/view/10819
Section
Articles