MIDAS Showcases Diverse Research Findings on Sustainable Bio-Based Value Chains at EUBCE 2024 

This month MIDAS project will present a diverse range of research findings at the upcoming European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (EUBCE 2024) in Marseille, France. These presentations will highlight the project’s significant progress in areas such as, marginal land mapping, biodiversity monitoring, environmental impact assessment of industrial crops, innovative farming practices such as agroforestry and intercropping systems, water management techniques, and value chain analysis. This wide range of topics will be covered in details in eight presentation by various MIDAS partners. If you’re planning to attend the EUBCE don’t miss these presentations, all together they will provide valuable insights into the progress and achievements of MIDAS project, showcasing the potential of industrial crops to contribute to a more sustainable and circular bioeconomy.  

Towards a Green Economy – Environmental Impact Assessment of Low Indirect Land Use Change (ILUC) Industrial Crops to Bioenergy, Biofuels And Bioproducts  

Ana Luisa Fernando from Universidade Nova de Lisboa will present MIDAS research on the environmental impact of cultivating low-ILUC industrial crops on marginal lands. The presentation will focus on miscanthus, hemp, crambe, and castor bean, exploring their potential to produce sustainable bioenergy, biofuels, and bioproducts while minimizing negative environmental effects. 

Location and Main Characteristics of Marginal lands in Europe in 2050 

In this keynote presentation, Berien Elbersen, Wageningen Environmental Research will present the MIDAS project’s work on mapping current and future marginal lands in Europe, considering the latest data and climate change effects. The presentation will also discuss the overlapping of these lands with abandoned and degraded areas, areas affected by soil and wind erosion, as well as the presence of specific ecosystem services. 

Feedstock with Low ILUC Risk for Biofuels Production 

Although not directly related to MIDAS, this plenary presentation by the project coordinator Efi Alexopoulou, CRES, will show the case studies conducted in the Horizon 2020 BIKE project, about growing industrial crops with low ILUC risk, including their cultivation in marginal land

Monitoring Biodiversity In Novel Low-Input Intercropping Systems for Bio-Based Feedstock 

Gilian van Duijvendijk, Wageningen Environmental Research, will present findings about how innovative cropping systems for bio-based feedstock can reduce the need for pesticides, enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services such as enhanced pollinator support, in agricultural landscapes characterized by marginal land. This presentation offers valuable insights into the ecological benefits of sustainable agricultural practices within the growing bioeconomy. 

Sustainable Biodiversity-friendly Intercropping for Bio-Based Products in Central Northern Spain Under Marginal Land Conditions: Firsts Results of the MIDAS Project 

Carlos Sixto Ciria Ramos, CIEMAT, will present the intermediate results of the intercropping trials in Spain. At this demo site on marginal agricultural land, two half-hectare fields combine woody and perennial crops (Siberian helm and lavender) with rotating annual crops (safflower, crambe and melilot ), enhancing the biodiversity in a climate resilient manner.  

Strip-Intercropping of Non-Food Crops on Marginal Land 

Andrea Parenti, University of Bologna, will present the preliminary results about strip-intercropping of industrial crops systems in one of the MIDAS demo sites in Italy. The field field trial of about 1 hectare was established in 2023 on a marginal land characterized by high a sand content and slope. Three annual crops, crambe, industrial hemp and safflower, were planted in large replicated strips , and intercropped with miscanthus. 

Agroforestry System: Opportunities And Constraints of Tree-crop Interactions 

This presentation by Luca Cozzolino, CREA IT, will show the MIDAS agroforestry trials conducted in Italy. The field trial alternates rows of a 12-year-old poplar plantation with annual oil crops grown in between the rows. This study represents the first example of intercropping between an already established MRF plantations and herbaceous crops

Subsurface Water Retention System for Industrial Crop Sustainable Production. Results from Guayule 

In this presentation, Simone Bergonzoli, CREA-IT, will present the preliminary results of trials using Subsurface Water Retention Technology (SWRT) on guayule in Spain. As climate change intensifies drought in the region, efficient water management becomes crucial for agriculture. SWRT offers a potential solution to improve water use efficiency and enhance crop drought resistance. CREA-IT has developed a unique machine capable of deploying SWRT systems in a single pass, and initial field tests in Spain are showing promising improvements in water conservation and guayule performance. 

Identifying and Evaluating the Implementability of Value Chain and Webs Based on Crops Cultivated on Marginal Lands in Southern and Central Europe: an Early Stage Approach 

Valentin Schlecht, University of Hohenheim will present an early-stage approach to identify promising bio-based value chains in Southern and Central Europe. This study focuses on sustainable and regionally-tailored biomass-to-product pathways, analyzing diverse case study regions and incorporating stakeholder input. 

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