Keywords: dryland salinity, liquid fuels, biofuels, woody biomass, bioenergy, domestication, mallee, water use efficiency, dryland agriculture, short rotation woody crops, Australia, production models, renewable energy
Scale of biomass production from new woody crops for salinity control in dryland agriculture in Australia
There is scope internationally to utilise surplus and degraded agricultural land for biomass crops that might also be environmentally beneficial. For example, dryland salinity in southern Australian could be ameliorated using profitable woody biomass crops. A model was developed to predict biomass production from such woody crops. At a biomass price of A$35/t (green) and a water use efficiency of 1.8 dry g/kg of water, profitable woody crops could produce 39 million t/year of dry biomass from 1.5% of farmland in the 300-400mm rainfall zone, and 8% of farmland in the 401600 mm rainfall zone of the southern Australian wheatbelt.