Biomass briquettes: a novel incentive for managing papyrus wetlands sustainably?
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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.
KeywordsCarbonized biomass Selective harvesting Lake Naivasha
Thanks to the Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship, Harvard University, as well as the Natural Environment Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council, UK, for financial support to E. Morrison. The authors thank the Kenyan Ministry of Education, Science and Technology for research permission to D. Harper. The ESPA (Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation) programme also supported the fieldwork of D. Harper and C. Upton. The authors gratefully acknowledge support from REWE (Germany) and COOP (Switzerland) for fieldwork conducted under the auspices of the Naivasha Basin Sustainability Initiative (NBSI).
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