About 6000 drought-tolerant trees have been planted at the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ (DPI) Trangie Agricultural Research Centre.
The tree planting forms part of the $4 million Biomass for Bioenergy project being conducted under the NSW Primary Industries Climate Change Research Strategy.
NSW DPI senior research scientist Dr Fabiano Ximenes said the project was investigating opportunities for increasing the amount of sustainable biomass use in NSW, with a focus on electricity generation.
“The project will identify available and potential feedstocks for bioenergy generation at varying scales, with an understanding of the economic viability and social constraints,” he said.
The scientist said woody biomass crops could provide a significant opportunity for farmers to diversify their income.
“Dedicated biomass crops would benefit less productive areas, diversifies the regional base and results in the creation of long-term job opportunities in regional NSW, across all parts of the supply chain, covering growing, harvesting, transporting and processing,” Dr Ximenes said.
NSW DPI Forest Science is partnering with the CSIRO’s Australian Tree Seed Centre to investigate the productivity of prospective woody biomass crops grown under a variety of conditions.
The species planted at Trangie are suitable for its climate and include Eucalyptus polybractea (blue mallee); Eucalyptus infera (durikai mallee); Eucalyptus viridis (green mallee); Eucalyptus camaldulensis (river red gum); Eucalyptus castrensis (Singleton mallee); Eucalyptus moluccana (grey box); Acacia saligna (golden wreath mallee) and Casuarina glauca (swamp she-oak).
Some of the desirable features of selected species include fast growth, hardiness, resistance to drought and frost conditions, and potential for coppicing.
Trial sites also have been established at Yanco, Orange, Glen Innes, Tamworth and Scone. In coming months the list will grow to include Muswellbrook and Grafton.