Besides being ornamental trees, softwood broadleaves are used for timber and paper production. They are also a good source of renewable energy. Their ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen (N) (Pernar et al., 2012) allows for large biomass production, making the production in short rotation sustainable.
The biomass element that determines the energy released during oxidation is carbon (C). Biomass C content is usually 45% to 50% (by oven-dried mass) (Schlesinger, 1991), but it may vary depending on the species and other factors. For instance, a 20% moisture content in raw biomass would reduce the C content to around 40% (Matthews, 1989). The species best suited for energy plantations are those that have high biomass production in dry weight, good sprouting, fast growth, narrow crowns or large-sized leaves in the upper crown, biomass with high specific energy and quality, adaptability to a wide range of sites, and resistance to biotic and abiotic agents (Gonçalves et al., 2018). In addition, N availability is a limiting factor for plant growth and development. Storage of N is among key processes in the economy of this nutrient, and its metabolic use determines vascular development and biomass production. The organically bound N content is also important because it is related to nitrogen-oxide emissions that result after combustion (Hadrović et al., 2021).
Numerous studies on the C storage by forests have been conducted in the past several decades (e.g., Matthews, 1989). However, the biomass C and N content in softwood broadleaves has remained insufficiently investigated, although it was studied by others (e.g., Pernar et al., 2012; Young, 1971). Hence, our study aims to investigate and compare six common softwood broadleaves based on their C and N storage capacity.
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