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Residual biomass from Dutch riverine areas—From waste to ecosystem service

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Published on 18/01/2019 by Bout, A.E., Pfau, S.F., Krabben, E. van der, Dankbaar, B.

Contact details

Astrid Bout

Radboud University Nijmegen

Output contains: Publication open access

Source: adapted from the Self Sustainable River System program.

Innovative components

Water managers are increasingly interested in making use of residual biomass that is released during vegetation management. We analysed what biomass is currently used for and how vegetation management and biomass use are currently organised. To that end, we looked at the practices of three main Dutch organizations both at a national and relgional level that are responsibe for the vegetation management. We interviewed advisors and managers involved in 13 cases of biomass utilization to identify: (i) Current uses of residual biomass in riverine areas; (ii) the drivers for the different biomass uses, and (iii) Type of contractual arrangements for managing riverine biomass.

Findings and Implications to practice

There is a development away from the traditional approach of choosing the cheapest or easiest way to get rid of biomass towards selection based on sustainable biomass uses. However, there is a lack of applicable, objective ranking instruments which results in a trial and error approach and uncertainty. Our results can help water managers to shape their tendering procedures to make optimal use of residual biomass as an ecosystem service. Traditional organizational arrangements of ‘tenancy’ and ‘passed to adjoining landowner’ result mostly in the more traditional biomass uses such as hay, grazing, leave at the site and local soil application. The organizational arrangements that transfer the responsibility for biomass use to contracted market parties deliver a greater variety of biomass uses, including some newer applications for bio-energy (e.g., biogas, woodchips) and bio-based products (e.g., grass fibers). Greater control of the water management organizations over biomass use via ‘pre-determined use’ and ‘in-house’, does not result in the same variety but some organizations are engaging in pilot experiments.

Biomass use per organisational arrangement is presented as a percentage of the total number of uses mentioned (Source: Table 4, Bout et al. 2019)

Related Content

Publication open access

Bout, A.E., Pfau, S.F., Krabben, E. van der, Dankbaar, B., 2019. Residual Biomass from Dutch Riverine Areas—From Waste to Ecosystem Service. Sustainability 11, 509.

Last modified: 22/07/2019