Biomass for bioproducts and bioenergy can be sourced from forests, agricultural crops, various residue streams, and dedicated woody or herbaceous crops (USDOE 2011). Woody biomass feedstocks have advantages in the northeastern US where forests occupy 67.4% of the land area (Smith et al. 2007), agricultural production has been in a 20-year decline, and agricultural crop residues are in limited supply because of the high demand for herbaceous forage by the dairy industry. Woody biomass is available year-round from multiple sources, so end users are not dependent on a single source of material or a narrow harvest window; this ensures a year-round feedstock supply, reduces the risk of dramatic price fluctuations, and eliminates the need for complicated and expensive long-term storage of material, which has the added benefit of preserving the quality attributes of the feedstock. As perennial cropping systems, both natural forests and short rotation woody crops (SRWC), like willow (Salix spp.) and hybrid poplar (Populus spp.), produce environmental and rural economic development benefits beyond a renewable source of biomass.
Eisenbies, Mark H.; Volk, Timothy A.; Abrahamson, Lawrence P.; Shuren, Rich; Stanton, Brian; Posselius, John; McArdle, Matt; Karapetyan, Samvel; Patel, Aayushi; Shi, Shun; and Zerpa, Jose, "Development and Deployment of a Short Rotation Woody Crops Harvesting System Based on a Case New Holland Forage Harvester and SRC Woody Crop Header" (2014). Willow Harvesting Publications. 4.
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