Biomass briquettes: a novel incentive for managing papyrus wetlands sustainably?
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- Morrison, E.H.J., Banzaert, A., Upton, C. et al. Wetlands Ecol Manage (2014) 22: 129. doi:10.1007/s11273-013-9310-x
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Recent innovations in the briquetting of carbonized biomass have the potential to improve the efficacy of papyrus as a fuel source. Selective harvesting of only mature stems may prove more sustainable than experimental clear-cutting approaches to regeneration pursued in earlier studies, whilst still providing up to 90 % of available biomass. Briquettes produced from papyrus compare favourably with alternative local fuels, both in physical properties and from the perspectives of potential end-users. Papyrus wetlands at Lake Naivasha, Kenya, may have the potential to provide 1.5 × 109 cuboid briquettes (volume c. 90 cm3; weight c. 25 g) from a biannual harvest, satisfying the domestic fuel requirements of > 85 % of the District’s population whilst simultaneously reducing pressure on forests exploited for the production of wood charcoal.