Do it like the Frisians: burn your cultural heritage
The so-called “Wallhecken” or “Knicks” are hedge- and tree rows on earthen banks. They have been cultivated since the middle ages for the purpose of fencing arable and pasture land. As cultural landscape element in the county Friesland in northern Germany, they give shape to a distinctive aesthetic scenery. They further have ecological significance and economic importance (e.g. wind protection). In the last century, no new ones were build and existing ones no longer maintained or even destroyed. Since new plantings only reach their full ecological value after decades, the conservation and improvement of existing structures needs attention. Thus, regular care is essential, sensible and desired by law.
In this pilot experience the active maintenance company markets yearly 15,000 m³ wood chips from hedgerows on banks, substituting 1.5 million litres of heating oil every year (= 5,000 t CO2-equivalents, 94% of GHG-emissions). The example also shows relevant factors for using LCMW biomass economically. In this context, providing a local product with constant quality builds a positive reputation and is key to secure long-term customers. Further, exchange between all involved actors is required. New contacts established during greenGain led to actors in Friesland to jointly work toward rising the maintenance rate of uncared hedgerows on banks, utilise unused biomass potentials, involve owners in maintenance processes and share experience with other regions.
Author: Aline Clalüna