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Economic evaluation of introduction of poplar as biomass crop in Italy

  • Autori: Testa, R; Di Trapani, AM; Fodera, M; Sgroi, F; Tudisca, S
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2014
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Lignocellulosic biomass production deriving from agro forest species, as well as poplar (Populus spp.), has denoted an increase in last years in UE also thanks to a series of policies aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and promoting renewable sources. In Italy poplar represents the main agro forest species and it is cultivated according to two different methods: very Short Rotation Coppice (vSRC) and Short Rotation Coppice (SRC). The aim of this paper has been to evaluate the economic feasibility of poplar as energy crop in the southern Italy and specifically to consider its competitiveness with respect to conventional crops. In particular, an economic analysis in a representative case study located in the Sicilian hilly hinterland has been carried out, by comparing the direct costs and incomes of poplar (both vSRC and SRC) and durum wheat. Results showed that only introduction of SRC plantation could increase the farm competitiveness, while vSRC could be economically advantageous only with a substantial increase of biomass market price and/or CAP subsidy. However, the introduction of poplar should grant a better contribution to climate change mitigation with respect to annual crop, improving the greenhouse gases balance and diminishing the environmental impact of agricultural activity.