If you read my postings the last few weeks, you know that I’m doing a webinar on Wednesday on searching academic databases for information of interest and use to gardeners. While researching one of the suggested topics (should we mow leaves into the lawn or bag and dump them?) I found a 2012 article* entitled “Biomass yield from an urban landscape” in the journal Biomass and Bioenergy. My blood ran cold when I read this part of the abstract:
“It was estimated that the City of Woodward could generate about 3750 Mg of biomass dry matter in a normal rainfall year and about 6100 Mg in a high rainfall year if every homeowner collected their lawn thatch and clippings, and tree leaves, twigs, and limbs for bioenergy production.”
My first thought was that is a botanical version of The Matrix. My second thought was how misguided such a proposal would be. Rather than using the organic material in our landscapes and gardens to replenish soil nutrients naturally, or greencycle it, we’d gather every shred and give it away to be burnt for energy production. Then we’d spend money on fertilizers (organic or otherwise, it doesn’t matter), many if not all of which require energy to manufacture, package, and/or distribute.
Does anyone else see something wrong with this picture?
I can tell you who wins with this approach, and it sure isn’t us or our gardens.
(*Springer, T.L. 2012. Biomass yield from an urban landscape. Biomass and Bioenergy 37: 82-87.)