The University of Florida & Common Purpose Institute
Demonstration Area of the Energy Crop Plantation



Eucalyptus Grandis in the Demonstration Area,
four months after planting from 8" seedings!

Welcome! Since our Tree Farm is such a large place, we've created a two acre Demo Area to visually communicate our research efforts with Visitors.

The Demo Area is a "micro- model" of everything we are doing within the entire plantation, ranging from the types of trees we're growing, our different planting configurations, coppice (re-growth) research after trees are cut, and weed control.

By the way, 60 years ago when this site was mined for phosphate, the paved road where you are standing was a 40 foot dam for a clay settling pond which is now our tree farm.

Design of Demonstration Area:   As you look at the energy crop trees, you'll see that some trees are taller than others. We will explain this in a moment, but its important to know that all the trees you are seeing were planted at the same time in May 2001.

The Demo Area has 12 research blocks:


Three large blocks by tree species type:
-- Eastern Cottonwood
-- Eucalyptus Grandis
-- Eucalyptus Amplifolia

Within these large blocks, trees were planted using two planting configurations:
-- One Row of Trees per Bed.
-- Two Rows of Trees per Bed.

In April 2002, 50% of the Demo Area's trees were cut in cooridors, allowing us to see how the trees will coppice:
-- By Tree Species.
-- By Planting Configuration.


Click Here For 
Larger Image & Close-up View

Click on the above picture for a larger & close-up view of the double row planted bed.

Planting Designs:   The best place to compare our single row versus double row tree planting configurations is within the uncut and taller E. Grandis blocks. The trees located at our large sign (the first picture on this webpage) are single row planted -- where approximately 1,200 trees are planted per acre.

The picture to the right illustrates double row plantings (i.e., two rows of tree per bed). By using variations in how close we plant/space seedings within each row, we can plant between 2,000 and 3,000 trees per acre.

In visually comparing the two blocks of E. Grandis, you will notice that the individual trees planted using the single row configuration are taller and have a wider diameter tree trunk. The reason for this is that each tree has less competition for things like sunlight, nutritents, and space -- increasing growth.


 

 

Double Row Planting allows the use of specially designed equipment for harvesting energy crops, such as the above Claas Harvester, which may reduce harvesting cost by 50% from traditional methods.

Why Double Rows?:   The rationale for double row planting configurations is based on two points -- utilizing experience gained in Europe for growing and harvesting energy crops.

While individual trees will be smaller, overall tree yields per acre may be greater than in using a single row configuration -- since two trees rather than one tree is planted in the same space.

However, perhaps the biggest reason for using this planting approach is the potential to significantly reduce harvesting cost using traditional methods, which can represent ~ 65% of total production cost of using energy crops as fuel (e.g., the costs of planting/growing, harvesting, and transporting wood fuel to a power plant).

Compared to traditional methods of tree harvesting used in the U.S. (e.g., skidders, feller-bunchers), use of Claas type equipment may reduce harvesting cost by 50% -- making the use of energy crops as a renewable energy fuel source more economic and cost competitive.