Active projects

Elaboration of innovative White Willow – perennial grass agroforestry systems on marginal mineral soils improved by wood ash and less demanded peat fractions amendments
Leader: Kristaps Makovskis
Start date: 1.10.2020
End date: 30.9.2023


European Regional Development Fund project (No.
Operational Program: "Growth and Employment"
Specific Objective 1.1.1 "Improve research and innovation capacity and the ability of Latvian research institutions to attract external funding, by investing in human capital and infrastructure"
Activity "Support for applied research"

The scientific objective "to develop innovative solutions and technologies for sustainable establishment of White Willow – perennial grass agroforestry systems aiming return acid mineral soil marginal areas in the bio-economy by using of organic soil amendments – side products from peat production and wood ash" will lead to a multidisciplinary project.
Applied science is related to economic activity – commercial sector needed research for marginal area management practice low agricultural impact technology (soils where the burden is heavy clay soil, low soil water permeability, stones) and developing of recipes for organic source soil amendments made from the manufacturing side – products – wood ash (wood industry, energy production) and less demanded peat fractions.
The study is intended to create a recipe and method for the production of such mixtures, using the dose of wood ash based on the amount of feed materials taken in willow plantings of indigenous origin planted in scientific trials in 2011 and 2016. Soil amendment mixture effectiveness are in testing process by Salix alba in pot/containers crops.
Application of best soil amendments mixtures are using different methods of harvesting in marginal areas with and without treatment.
Local white willow stands are surveyed, female and male juvenile fast clones with high quality stem characteristics and good cutting indicators going to be selected, the breeder's rights protection procedure will be initiated for male clone.
Inter-cropping of ecological plastic pollinator friendly perennials will be cultivated.
Resilient male variety of Salix alba are going to registered. Six high-level scientific papers will be published.

The work organized in 4 activities:

  1. The administrative and publicity measures of the research ensure coordination of implementation of the planned activities, take care of the publicity measures of the scientific achievements and findings obtained in the next three activities.
  2. Evaluation of technologies and an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of methods currently used in plantations on marginal lands where soil has been enriched with organic source amendments and ecologically plastic plant selection.
  3. Development of the recipe for an amendment consisting of wood ash/ peat manufacturing process suitable for industrial production.
  4. Assessment of vegetation removal technologies and the efficiency of alternative organic soil amendment usage for growing resilient plants characteristic with high phenotypic plasticity in heavy clay soils – modelling of situation in the agroforestry option.

The project's eligible costs appropriateness is 329,567.01 EUR, of which the European Regional Development Fund is (64,8%). Private eligible costs are 116,033.97 EUR, total 331,221.81 EUR.

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