Evaluation of measures for maintenance of grasslands
Action aims to assess different measures that could be implemented for the management of grassland habitats, involving traditional farming practices as well as innovative approaches and possible combinations and synergies of the different measures.
Implementation: October 2013 – December 2016
Implemented by: LTD “Bio Re” and Riga Technical University
Step 1: International seminar organized to exchange the experience of best and innovative solutions for sustainable management of grassland habitats, involving national and local authorities and stakeholders as well as representatives of other EU Member States. Particular focus was on experience gained within other LIFE projects in neighboring countries as well as other countries with similar nature conditions. Agenda, presentations and report available here.
Step 2: Testing various technical and technological options for processing of biomass for production of biogas and biobutanol from grass. The biomass was collected from different habitats and in different times of the year (2014, 2015 and 2016). It was exposed to various physical and chemical conditions, as well as fed to various species of microorganisms. Produced biofuel amounts were measured, and best combination of physical, chemical and biological variables found.This will serve as the bases for specification of technical parameters for pilot facilities for biofuel production.
Step 3: Preparation of a report on technological/technical solutions for the use of biomass with evaluation of cost effectiveness. The report “Technological solutions for the use of biomass with evaluation of cost effectiveness” concludes that out of all three assessed technological solutions for alternative biomass use under the existing conditions (technological parameters, prices of energy resources, operational costs, investment costs) the production of grass pellets and using them as fuel is the only solution, which is probably economically effective. Biogas production is perspective if some production costs will be reduced; biobutanol production at the moment is the least economically viable solution, which might have future perspective in synergy with biogas production.
4. Testing application of digestate. Digestate is the end product in the production of biogas and biobutanol. This compost like and nutrient rich solid matter applied to selected monitoring plots with different amount and intensity. The activity consists of: estimation of the optimum condition for the digestate application on grasslands; transportation of digestate in containers back to the project areas and manual application (at monitoring plots, two field seasons); correlation of the management practice to habitat monitoring, whether changes in the habitat can be observed or not (desk work). This activity was completed in August 2016. The digestate on all monitoring plots was spread in April, but the mowing and harvesting of fresh biomass and hay were done in July and August 2016. The impact of digestate application on grassland biodiversity was analysed and the initial results show that application of digestate influenced the composition of terrestrial beetles and the distribution of particular plant species, but only in some monitoring plots the changes can be considered as statistically significant.