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The potential distribution of bioenergy crops in the UK under present and future climate

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2010
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Journal number12
Volume24
Number of pages11
Pages1935-1945
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

We have predicted the potential distribution of 26 bioenergy crops in the UK, based on the simple model described by Tuck et al. [1]. The model has been applied at a 5 km resolution using the UKCIP02 model for scenarios at Low, Medium-Low, Medium-High and High emissions. In the analysis of the results the limitations for crop growth are assigned to elevation, temperature, high and low rainfall. Most of the crops currently grown are predicted to remain prevalent in the UK. A number of crops are suitable for introduction to the UK under a changing climate, whereas others retreat to northern parts of the UK. The greatest changes are expected in England. The simplicity of the model means that it has a relatively high uncertainty, with minor modifications to the model leading to quite different results. Nevertheless, it is well suited for identifying areas and crops that are most likely to be affected by the greatest changes. It has been noted that Miscanthus and Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) willow and poplar, which are currently regarded as highly suitable for UK conditions, may be less suited to southern areas in the future, where, for example, kenaf could have a greater potential. Further investigations are required to reduce uncertainty associated with the projections based on this simple model and to make conclusions more firmly.