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Utrecht University, Copernicus Institute, Department of Science, Technology and Society, Budapestlaan 6, Utrecht, The Netherlands
; Fax: +31 30 253 7601
; Tel: +31 30 253 4299
University of Hohenheim, Institute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation, Fruwirthstrasse 12, Stuttgart, Germany
; Fax: +49 711 45924071
; Tel: +49 711 45924105
University of Bonn, Institute of Crop Science and Research Conservation, Katzenburgweg 5, Bonn, Germany
; Fax: +49 228 732870
; Tel: +49 228 732050
Energy Environ. Sci., 2011,4, 2669-2681
11 Jan 2011,
13 Apr 2011
First published online
26 May 2011
This study assesses the extent and location of salt-affected soils worldwide and their current land use and cover as well as the current technical and economic potential of biomass production from forestry plantations on these soils (biosaline forestry). The global extent of salt-affected land amounts to approximately 1.1 Gha, of which 14% is classified as forest, wetlands or (inter)nationally protected areas and is considered unavailable for biomass production because of sustainability concerns. For the remaining salt-affected area, this study finds an average biomass yield of 3.1 oven dry ton ha−1 y−1 and a global technical potential of 56 EJ y−1 (equivalent to 11% of current global primary energy consumption). If agricultural land is also considered unavailable because of sustainability concerns, the technical potential decreases to 42 EJ y−1. The global economic potential of biosaline forestry at production costs of 2€ GJ−1 or less is calculated to be 21 EJ y−1 when including agricultural land and 12 EJ y−1 when excluding agricultural land. At production costs of up to 5€ GJ−1, the global economic potential increases to 53 EJ y−1 when including agricultural land and to 39 EJ y−1 when excluding agricultural land. Biosaline forestry may contribute significantly to energy supply in certain regions, e.g., Africa. Biosaline forestry has numerous additional benefits such as the potential to improve soil, generate income from previously low-productive or unproductive land, and soil carbon sequestration. These are important additional reasons for investigating and investing in biosaline forestry.
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Energy & Environmental Science
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