BioEnergy Research

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 144–152

Short-Rotation Coppice of Willow for Phytoremediation of a Metal-Contaminated Agricultural Area: A Sustainability Assessment

  • Nele Witters
  • Stijn Van Slycken
  • Ann Ruttens
  • Kristin Adriaensen
  • Erik Meers
  • Linda Meiresonne
  • Filip M. G. Tack
  • Theo Thewys
  • Erik Laes
  • Jaco Vangronsveld
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s12155-009-9042-1

Cite this article as:
Witters, N., Van Slycken, S., Ruttens, A. et al. Bioenerg. Res. (2009) 2: 144. doi:10.1007/s12155-009-9042-1

Abstract

Large areas of land contaminated with cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and zinc (Zn) are currently in agricultural production in the Campine region in Belgium. Cadmium contents in food and fodder crops frequently exceed legal threshold values, resulting in crop confiscation. This imposes a burden on agriculture and regional policy and, therefore, encourages proper soil management. One way to increase agricultural income and improve soil quality is by growing alternative nonfood crops such as willows in short-rotation coppice (SRC) systems that remediate the soil. This paper compares SRC of willow with rapeseed and energy maize regarding four attributes: metal accumulation capacity, gross agricultural income per hectare, CO2 emission avoidance potential, and agricultural acceptance. Based on multicriteria decision analysis, we conclude that, although SRC of willow has a high potential as an energy and remediating crop, it is unlikely to be implemented on the short term in Flanders unless the economic incentives for the farmers are improved.

Keywords

Agriculture Belgium CO2 Income Multicriteria decision analysis Soil remediation 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nele Witters
    • 1
  • Stijn Van Slycken
    • 2
  • Ann Ruttens
    • 3
  • Kristin Adriaensen
    • 3
  • Erik Meers
    • 2
  • Linda Meiresonne
    • 4
  • Filip M. G. Tack
    • 2
  • Theo Thewys
    • 1
  • Erik Laes
    • 5
  • Jaco Vangronsveld
    • 3
  1. 1.Centre for Environmental Sciences, Department of EconomicsHasselt UniversityDiepenbeekBelgium
  2. 2.Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Applied EcochemistryGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Centre for Environmental Sciences, Laboratory of Environmental BiologyHasselt UniversityDiepenbeekBelgium
  4. 4.Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO)GeraardsbergenBelgium
  5. 5.Transition Energy and EnvironmentFlemish Institute for Technological Research (VITO)MolBelgium