With the development of biofuels putting pressure on agricultural land is there a new role for hedgerows to provide a renewable energy resource connecting the farmed landscape with local communities? And how can the harvesting of hedgerows for biomass be optimized while maintaining their multiple ecological and social functions? An EU funded project, TWECOM ‘Towards Eco-Energetic Communities’ aims to find out.
Supported by a Sustainable Development Fund grant in 2013, these trials will be the first in the UK to assess the feasibility of extracting timber from hedgerows for the woodfuel market using large-scale machinery. Other trials carried out in Devon as part of the Cordiale Project involved coppicing being done manually with a chainsaw.
120m of mature mixed broadleaf hedgerow is being coppiced by 3 different machinery options; felling grapple with circular saw blade mounted on a small excavator, Tractor-mounted circular saw and Manual fell. Once harvested, all of the shrub & tree material will be processed for woodfuel, with half being chipped and half separated into logs for firewood and brash, which will then be chipped. We will be recording the volume and mass of woodchip generated by each section of hedge in order to quantify hedge biomass productivity. The woodchip will subsequently be analysed for its quality as woodfuel.
This will be a low key informal drop-in between 10am-1pm. Coffee & tea will be provided.
For more details, contact Meg Chambers, Mary Crossland or Jo Smith on 01488 658298; firstname.lastname@example.org
Look out for further trials at Elm Farm in West Berkshire in September 2015