I have seen articles about gm trees that can grow 30 feet in one year. I think these are hardwood trees though some may be softwood. Has anyone considered growing trees to harvest to burn the wood - in order to have a constant supply of wood for fuel?
IMHO 30 feet of hardwood in a year sounds like hype. How can the roots draw enough nutrients for them to be able to do that? Poplars can grow pretty fast, tho. I'd prefer to grow hickories for heat, they smell so nice when they burn and they're native to this area so they grow really well here.
Quite often faster growth means lower burning quality, which stands to reason, since the density of the wood determines the amount of carbohydrates there to burn. Slower growers are often dense and burn hot and long. So there's a tradeoff between the two. Longstanding traditions in various parts of the world often recommend a few species that rise to the top of the list in terms of this compromise....ash, black locust, and casuarina come first to mind. Interestingly, all three of these coppice readily.
After reading the guardian article, and thinking of the further manipulation the trees must get to reach that height in 5.5 years, "Growing a planet to burn..." came to mind as a more appropriate title for this thread. The fois gras of growing trees for a largely sick world.
For us, being fuel self-sufficient is an important, if long-term goal. Because our area is very wet I am focussing on willow coppice and alder, hoping to include birch once some areas a bit dryer, and also planting some slow-growing hardwoods but those aren't necessarily for firewood. I am trying to stick to native trees for the most part, I wouldn't touch a gm super-tree!
Location: zone 6b
posted 7 years ago
In the video the Sierra Club made about it (A Silent Forest), they said another problem with the GM trees is they're making them "Round-Up Ready" so they can plant hundreds of acres of trees and spray herbicide on the whole thing to keep any other plants from competing with them. That's about as far from permaculture as you can get - I can only imagine the loss of habitat to wildlife, the erosion, not to mention the toxic effects of even more land sprayed several times a year with toxic chemicals. UGH.