Coppicing evaluation in the southern USA to determine harvesting methods for bioenergy production
Woody biomass is an excellent source of renewable energy in terms of cost-benefit and availability. Short rotation woody crops (SRWC) meet intensive wood demand due to their fast growth and ability to coppice. There are uncertainties related to the feasibility of harvesting multiple-stem coppice trees with current technology. In this study, we investigated the physical attributes of two SRWC species, 2 years after harvest. A logistic regression was fit in an attempt to determine whether the number of surviving stems per stump (2 or fewer; 3 or more) had a relationship with the damage caused during harvest and the diameter classes of the stumps. The species used in this experiment were Eucalyptus urograndis in Florida, and Populus deltoides in Arkansas. Stem crowding and clump dimension was also collected from the coppice trees 2 years after harvest. In addition, the re-sprouting patterns from different seasons of the year (summer and winter) were compared. Results from both species showed that stump diameter is positively related with stem crowding. A minimal percentage of the clump dimensions exceeded the established threshold that would put these multi-stem trees in a challenging spot for subsequent harvesting operations with small-scale machinery.