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WIREs Energy Environ.
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Multifunctional perennial production systems for bioenergy: performance and progress

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Abstract As the global population increases and becomes more affluent, biomass demands for food and biomaterials will increase. Demand growth is further accelerated by the implementation of climate policies and strategies to replace fossil resources with biomass. There are, however, concerns about the size of the prospective biomass demand and the environmental and social consequences of the corresponding resource mobilization, especially concerning impacts from the associated land‐use change. Strategically integrating perennials into landscapes dominated by intensive agriculture can, for example, improve biodiversity, reduce soil erosion and nutrient emissions to water, increase soil carbon, enhance pollination, and avoid or mitigate flooding events. Such “multifunctional perennial production systems” can thus contribute to improving overall land‐use sustainability, while maintaining or increasing overall biomass productivity in the landscape. Seven different cases in different world regions are here reviewed to exemplify and evaluate (a) multifunctional production systems that have been established to meet emerging bioenergy demands, and (b) efforts to identify locations where the establishment of perennial crops will be particularly beneficial. An important barrier towards wider implementation of multifunctional systems is the lack of markets, or policies, compensating producers for enhanced ecosystem services and other environmental benefits. This deficiency is particularly important since prices for fossil‐based fuels are low relative to bioenergy production costs. Without such compensation, multifunctional perennial production systems will be unlikely to contribute to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. This article is categorized under: Bioenergy > Systems and Infrastructure Bioenergy > Climate and Environment Energy Policy and Planning > Climate and Environment
Percentage contribution of life cycle stages in SRC willow production to each impact category (Murphy et al., )
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Soil‐water nitrate concentration data from selected years at the Fairbury, Illinois study site
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Economically competitive SRC sites that provide cross compliance‐relevant erosion protection in the region of Göttingen, Germany. € = Euro, 2017 level
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Estimated effectiveness of mitigating selected environmental impacts caused by intensive cultivation of annual crops, by a strategic introduction of perennials into the landscape (Englund et al., )
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Integrated production system with a variety of agricultural activities between rows of mallee
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Integrated system for the supply of aviation fuel derived from mallee biomass based in the Great Southern region of WA (Goss, Abadi, Crossin, Stucley, & Turnbull, )
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(a) Location of the Tennessee switchgrass‐to‐ethanol experiment within the southeastern United States. Applications for feedstock contracts were considered from Tennessee farms located within 80 km (i.e., an hour's drive) of the Vonore demonstration‐scale biorefinery. (b) Optimal switchgrass planting locations were modeled for the Lower Little Tennessee watershed using a combination of water quality and profitability indicators. At the peak of the Great Experiment in 2010, a total of 2,064 ha of switchgrass were planted throughout 10 east Tennessee counties
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Switchgrass field in the “Great experiment.” Photo by Sam Jackson
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Overview of the system near Enköping, Sweden, where willow fields, irrigated by a municipal wastewater plant, supply a combined, heat and power plant (from where the photo is taken) with biomass (Photo: Pär Aronsson, SLU)
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Energy Policy and Planning > Climate and Environment
Bioenergy > Climate and Environment
Bioenergy > Systems and Infrastructure

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