Agroforestry woodchip for collective heating facilities
Hedges are very important elements of the French landscape, especially to maintain the "bocage" (pastureland divided into small hedged fields interspersed with groves of trees). However, since the 70s, trees and hedges are seen by farmers and town representatives as a liability and a cost rather than a resource. Hence, hedges are not well maintained, and sometimes even pulled out. To keep these hedges healthy and managed, so that they can keep providing their ecological and agronomical services (e.g. biodiversity havens, protection against weather, erosion prevention), it is crucial to turn them into economic resources.
A serious lead for the valorisation of hedge products is wood-fuel for collective heating systems. Several actions are needed to truly develop a wood-fuel value chain: promote hedge restoration and replanting, train farmers on good hedge management practices, help small-scale woodchip-processing companies to find suppliers and promote installation of heating systems for city infrastructures, enterprises or farms.