Research Project Details

Project Details

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Prospective taxa for short-rotation bioenergy in the tropics and sub-tropics
Summary We aim to assess eucalypt mallees as potential short rotation bioenergy crops for subtropical and tropical drylands.

Eucalypt mallee species suited to bioenergy production such as blue mallee (Eucalyptus polybractea) and oil mallee (E. horistes) have been developed and tested for southern Australia’s sheep wheat belt, and these show promise for production of bioenergy and other products (e.g. activated carbon, eucalypt oil) through integrated processing.

We plan to compare the performance of southern Australia’s bestbet species (23 representative species) with a small number (1020) of vigorous malleeform eucalypts selected from the summerdominant rainfall zone including western, central and northern Australia. The trials will be grown at four sites, two in southern Queensland and two in northern Queensland that are situated in prospective bioenergy plantation regions (that we will determine using simple criteria) and representative of target plantations sites. The trials will be grown for two years to reach a size suitable for assessment and harvest. We will assess traits such as survival, biomass production, woody matter basic density and firstrotation coppicing ability. This information will provide basic data for other researchers, such as a preliminary list of betbet species for these regions and guidance on productivity for modelling and scenario planning.
Program Bioenergy, Bioproducts and Energy
Research organisation CSIRO
Objective summary The project seeks to underpin further research and development by providing basic data to other researchers and growers interested in biomass production from eucalypt mallees. Its objectives are to:

1. identify a list of mallee eucalypt species that are candidates for domestication for the purpose of bioenergy production under cultivation in Australia’s summer dominant (subtropical and tropical) rainfall zone.
2. procure seed for as many of these species as practical for the purpose of establishing field trials
3. identify prospective sites for biomass trials. The sites will be representative of target planting sites in target planting regions. Two sites will be in southern Queensland and two in the north.
4. determine which of the species are most prospective for biomass production at each site.
5. publish a list of prospective species and biomass productivity estimates, as well as other data and observations from the trials.
Project Stage Closed
Project start date Thursday, July 30, 2009
Project completion date Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Journal articles from project Not Available
National priority An environmentally sustainable Australia
Rural priority Soil, water and managing natural resources
RIRDC goal BBE-Bioenergy, Bioproducts and Energy
Principal researcher David Bush
Research manager Duncan Farquhar
Admin contact Rhonda Riches