Wildlife Use of Short-rotation Coppice Willow Crops
Short-rotation woody crops are increasingly being used to address a range of environmental problems. For example, they are being used to provide a carbon-neutral source of biomass for energy production, to phytoremediate soils through the removal of heavy metals or the containment of contaminants via evapotranspirative reduction in the volume of leachate, and to control soil and wind erosion. As the use of short-rotation woody crops increases, this vegetation type will comprise a greater extent of the landscape, yet its attendant effects on biodiversity remain poorly understood. In this study we characterized the avian and small mammal communities of short-rotation coppice willow crops that were established for phytoremediation and biomass production in industrial settling basins and compared these communities to those of surrounding areas of naturally-established perennial herbaceous-woody vegetation. The results of this study were published in Biomass and Bioenergy (PDF).