Project: Novel Pathways of Biomass Production: Assessing the Potential of Sida hermaphrodita and Valuable Timber Trees

Acronym SidaTim (Reference Number: 104)
Duration 01/05/2016 - 30/04/2019
Project Topic The aim of SIDATIM is to strengthen the European bio-based economy by researching and promoting potentials of new land use concepts that comprise 1) innovative multipurpose plant species and 2) novel agricultural management approaches. For this purpose, research organizations and stakeholders from four European countries have joint. One subset of tasks within SIDATIM is devoted to examining the performance of Sida hermaphrodita, a Northern American plant species that has already displayed very promising yield increments on field sites located in Poland, but which has received little attention from researchers and practitioners in Western European countries until today. For example, Sida can serve as an alternative energy plant to corn for biogas production, and an alternative to woody crops typically used in Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) systems. Moreover, first research results indicate that it can also function as a basic compound for various material products, such as fibre products, particle or insulation boards, and as a substitute for turf. It appears to be well-suited for phytoremediation, can be used as fodder due to its high protein content, and its flowers provide abundant pollen and nectar for pollinating insects. These tasks are summarized in the research pillar SIDATEST. In a second research pillar, entitled AGROTIM, we aim at advancing and promoting knowledge about the production of valuable timber in an agricultural setting. Traditionally, the combined cultivation of an agricultural crop and woody plants such as trees is known as an agroforestry system (AFS). In AGROTIM, we will put a special focus on the concept of “marginal agroforestry systems”, in which trees for valuable timber production are planted only at the edges of fields, into existing hedgerows, or on scarps and lynchets of low ecological value between fields. In this way, negative effects of trees on crops due to shading are minimized, whilst their positive effects such as erosion reduction, wind protection, ecologic and aesthetic upgrading of a landscape, are combined with an attractive additional income for the farmer. Ultimatively, SIDATIM will assess and model the economic and ecological potentials of growing Sida in combination with valuable timber trees as a means to foster an intensified but also a diversified agriculture on a local and a regional scale in different European countries. The project includes both farmers and biomass consumers from the industrial setting, but it also addresses decision makers and other scientists working in the field of agroforestry. The project consortium consists of 3N Center of Experts (DE), Cranfield University (UK), West Pomeranian University of Technology Szczecin (PL), The Institute of Agro-environmental and Forest Biology (IT), Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (IT), and the University of Freiburg (DE) – the latter serving as the coordinator.
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Project partner

Number Name Role Country
1 Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg Coordinator Germany
2 3N Centre of Experts - Lower Saxony Network for Renewable Resources e.V., Partner Germany
3 Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria (CRA) Partner Italy
4 Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) Partner Italy
5 Cranfield University Partner United Kingdom
6 West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin (WUT) Partner Poland