Possible Applications of Short-Rotation-Plantations in Bangladesh

Funding: Asia Pro Eco (Europe Aid)
Project Duration: 01.05.2004 - 31.05.2006
Project Manager: Dr. Gerhard Schories
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Most of Asian regions suffer from a lack of drinking water, an increasing loss of soil-fertility and a lack of appropriate energy supply. These problems are mainly caused by mismanagement in water supply, insufficient wastewater treatment and costly energy sources. To solve these problems it is necessary to develop low-cost, multi-purpose approaches basing on an understanding of the regional ecosystem dynamics and fitting to the local conditions.

Short-Rotation-Plantations (SRP) can be a contribution to overcome these problems because they can combine a highly efficient but low-cost biological wastewater treatment with a biomass production for sustainable renewable energy supply (combustion, transformation into electricity etc.).

In SRPs fast growing native tree species with economic value will be cultivated (in Europe e.g. willows) under application of communal wastewater for low-cost irrigation and fertilisation. The trees act as a biofilter for water pollutants and produce high amounts of biomass in short terms due to permanent fertilisation. SRPs also enable soil protection from erosion, increase its fertility for future food production and stabilise the local micro-climate. Because the SRP approach is a natural and low-cost alternative compared to costly standard wastewater treatment plants it promises a high application potential for rural and peri-urban regions in Asia.

The German research institute ttz Bremerhaven, together with four partners from Bangladesh, Sweden and Austria, developed a project in Bangladesh to determine the application potential of SRPs to Asian conditions. The existing expertise on SRPs in the R&D sector in Europe in combination with the knowledge of local universities, municipalities, and NGO's shall lead to an adaptation of these systems to the local conditions of Bangladesh.