Biomass and nutrient mass of Acacia dealbata and Eucalyptus globulus bioenergy plantations
We quantified biomass and nutrient accumulation of Acacia dealbata Link and Eucalyptus globulus Labill. planted at stem densities of 5000 and 15000 ha-1 in a bioenergy plantation in Chile. We tested the hypotheses that species and stocking will not affect biomass or nutrient accumulation. Species and stocking did not affect biomass accumulation after five years; however, species and stocking did influence nutrient mass. A. dealbata had higher nitrogen mass than E. globulus for total (397 kg ha-1 more, i.e., 126% higher), foliage (188 kg ha-1, 218%), branch (55 kg ha-1, 95%), stem (120 kg ha-1, 86%), and root (34 kg ha-1, 109%) components, likely because A. dealbata fixes nitrogen. A. dealbata had lower calcium mass than E. globulus for branch (111 kg ha-1, 60%) and stem (69 kg ha-1, 39%) components. Root nitrogen and phosphorus masses and foliage, branch and root boron masses were significantly lower with a stocking density of 5000 ha-1. Low stocking produced the same amount of total biomass as high stocking for both species and would be less expensive to plant. A. dealbata had higher nitrogen mass and likely increased soil nitrogen. E. globulus had high calcium mass in the stem and branches; off-site losses could be mitigated with stem-only harvests and debarking of stems in the field. Given the rainfall patterns and water availability constraints in Chile, additional criteria including water use efficiency would be required to determine the best species for bioenergy plantations in Chile.