The Lusatian lignite-mining district (Eastern Germany) is characterized by a high share of marginal post-mining areas. At these sites, crop yield is generally low, and hence, conventional land use systems often fail in terms of reliable and efficient crop production. In this paper the attempt is made to evaluate the production of woody biomass for bioenergy in short rotation coppices (SRC) and alley cropping systems (ACS) with black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.) and lucerne (Medicago sativa L.) from the aspect of possible ecological and economic benefits compared to the conventional agricultural recultivation practice. The results show that, due to both high establishment and harvesting costs and comparatively low prices of energy wood, land use systems such as SRC or ACS are currently hardly profitable compared to conventional agriculture. However, the cultivation of black locust resulted in a higher humus accumulation and in a lower harvest-related nutrient export than the cultivation of lucerne as a typical recultivation crop in this region. Therefore, it can be concluded that for an improvement of soil fertility woody biomass production is more beneficial than the conventional agricultural recultivation practice.
agroforestry; black locust; carbon accumulation; short rotation coppice; woody biomass