Answering ecological questions of woody biomass production with short rotation plantation (coppice) of poplar are essential tasks of PRO-BIOPA. As central part of the project we established a 5 ha large experimental field site in Southwestern Germany (Bingen/Hohenzollern near Sigmaringen, Baden-Württemberg). The short rotation coppice (SRC) is managed by the Forstliche Forschungs- und Versuchsanstalt Baden-Württemberg (FVA-BW) and will be harvested in 4-year-intervals. On marginal land (agricultural value < 40) we grow two commercially available poplar hybrids [cv. Monviso (Populus maximowiczii x P. nigra) and cv. Max4 (Populus nigra x P. maximowiczii)] under different irrigation and nutrition regimes to optimize biomass-production of poplar in short rotation coppice (SRC) on sites with limited nutrient and water supply.
Beside analysis of biomass formation we perform a comprehensive, integrative economical and ecological assessment of SRC. By means of experimentally obtained data (from continuous measurements and intensive field campaigns using dynamic plant and soil enclosures) and modelling exercises (using biogeochemical process models within the Modular Biosphere Simulation Environment (MoBiLE) of IMK-IFU) we will compile an entire green house gas (GHG) balance of poplar short rotation coppice (SRC) with nutrition and water management, considering (i) GHG emission / deposition and (ii) management induced energy consumption (netto energy balance). Moreover we will quantify the emission and leaching of environmental incriminating compounds like VOC (with isoprene as main compound) as precursors of tropospheric ozone and nitrate leaching in ground and surface water bodies.