Eucalyptus plantations in Israel: an assessment of economic and environmental viability
ABSTRACT This paper discusses a plantation management approach involving a combination of “short” and “long” rotations designed to
allow farmers to receive income from trees as soon as possible after establishment. We present results from two plots that
represent extreme conditions: (a) a seasonally waterlogged, non-saline site (Nahalal), and (b) a saline site (Ginnegar) located
in the Yizre’el Valley, Israel. Six improved seed sources, four of Eucalyptus camaldulensis and two of E. occidentalis, were examined. The local Israeli seed source of E. camaldulensis (HA) performed best at both sites. In Nahalal, the short rotation thinning of the slower growing (50%) plantation trees could
provide economic returns approximately five years after establishment. The calculated mean annual increment (MAI) of these
trees reached 12.2tha−1year−1. The long rotation, or better performing half of the plantation trees, could be used as a source of sawn timber, providing
higher-value products. By nine years after establishment, the average DBH of the various seed sources reached 25.8±1.9cm.
The calculated MAI of the combined cutting rotations reached 48.3tha−1year−1. Eucalyptus grown under the combined (short- and long-term) management approach at Nahalal was more profitable than many other non-irrigated
local crops. Eucalyptus production in Ginnegar would be less profitable than in Nahalal. However, an additional ecological benefit was provided by
the crop’s ability to lower the water table. When this contribution to regional drainage is taken into account, trees become
economically competitive with other non-irrigated field crops under saline conditions.
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ABSTRACT: Australia's utility pole network is aging and approaching its end of life. It is estimated that 70% of the 5 million poles currently in-service nationally were installed within the 20 years following the end of World War II and require replacement or remedial maintenance. Additionally, an estimated 21,700 high-durability new poles are required each year to support the expansion of the energy network. Utility poles were traditionally cut from native forest hardwood species. However, due to agreements which progressively phase out logging of native forests around Australia, finding new sources for utility poles presents a challenge. This paper presents the development of veneer based composite hardwood hollow utility poles manufactured from mid-rotation Gympie messmate (Eucalyptus cloeziana) plantation thinned trees (also referred to as "thinning"), as an alternative to solid hardwood poles. The incentives behind the project and benefits of the proposed products are introduced in the paper. Small diameter poles, of nominal 115 mm internal diameter and 15 mm wall-thickness, were manufactured in two half-poles butt jointed together, using 9 hardwood veneers per half-pole. The poles were tested in bending and shear, and experimental test results are presented. The mechanical performance of the hollow poles is discussed and compared to hardwood poles sourced from mature trees and of similar size. Additionally, the required dimensions of the proposed hollow pole to replace actual solid poles are estimated. Results show that the proposed product represents a viable technical solution to the current shortage of utility poles. Future research and different options for improving the current concept are proposed in order to provide a more reliable and cost effective product for structural and architectural applications in general.Construction and Building Materials 09/2014; 66:458-466. DOI:10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2014.05.093 · 2.27 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The increase in energy prices and the stagnation of sales prices of the main agricultural commodities required a rethinking of farm production strategies. Since during the last years, thanks to a series of policies aimed at promoting renewable sources it has been a rapid diffusion of lignocellulosic biomass species, this paper aimed at evaluating the economic feasibility of the introduction of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) as energy crop for farmers of Southern Italy, by comparing it with traditional crop rotations. In particular, economic analysis has been carried out in a representative case study located in the Sicilian hilly hinterland where, in 2013, it has been built a biomass plant for energy production. However, results showed that introduction of eucalyptus for biomass production is less profitable for farmers than traditional crops, considering the incompressibility of production costs and the actual market price of woodchips.Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 04/2015; 44. DOI:10.1016/j.rser.2015.01.032 · 5.51 Impact Factor