Journal article Open Access

Marginal Agricultural Land Low-Input Systems for Biomass Production

von Cossel, Moritz; Lewandowski, Iris; Elbersen, Berien; Staritsky, Igor; van Eupen, Michiel; Iqbal, Yasir; Mantel, Stefan; Scordia, Danilo; Testa, Giorgio; Cosentino, Salvatore Luciano; Maliarenko, Oksana; Eleftheriadis, Ioannis; Zanetti, Federica; Monti, Andrea; Lazdina, Dagnija; Neimane, Santa; Lamy, Isabelle; Ciadamidaro, Lisa; Sanz, Marina; Esteban Carrasco, Juan; Ciria, Pilar; McCallum, Ian; Trindade, Luisa M.; Van Loo, Eibertus N.; Elbersen, Wolter; Fernando, Ana Luisa; Papazoglou, Eleni G.; Alexopoulou, Efthymia

This study deals with approaches for a social-ecological friendly European bioeconomy based on biomass from industrial crops cultivated on marginal agricultural land. The selected crop to be investigated are: Biomass sorghum, camelina, cardoon, castor, crambe, Ethiopian mustard, giant reed, hemp, lupin, miscanthus, pennycress, poplar, reed canary grass, saower, Siberian elm, switchgrass, tall wheatgrass, wild sugarcane, and willow. The research question focused on the overall crop growth suitability under low-input management. The study assessed: (i) How the growth suitability of industrial crops can be defined under the given natural constraints of European marginal agricultural lands; and (ii) which agricultural practices are required for marginal agricultural land low-input systems (MALLIS). For the growth-suitability analysis, available thresholds and growth requirements of the selected industrial crops were defined. The marginal agricultural land was categorized according to the agro-ecological zone (AEZ) concept in combination with the marginality constraints, so-called ‘marginal agro-ecological zones’ (M-AEZ). It was found that both large marginal agricultural areas and numerous agricultural practices are available for industrial crop cultivation on European marginal agricultural lands. These results help to further describe the suitability of industrial crops for the development of social-ecologically friendly MALLIS in Europe.

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