Marginal agricultural land low-input systems for biomass production

Moritz Von Cossel*, Iris Lewandowski, Berien Elbersen, Igor Staritsky, Michiel Van Eupen, Yasir Iqbal, Stefan Mantel, Danilo Scordia, Giorgio Testa, Salvatore Luciano Cosentino, Oksana Maliarenko, Ioannis Eleftheriadis, Federica Zanetti, Andrea Monti, Dagnija Lazdina, Santa Neimane, Isabelle Lamy, Lisa Ciadamidaro, Marina Sanz, Juan Esteban CarrascoPilar Ciria, Ian McCallum, Luisa M. Trindade, Eibertus N. Van Loo, Wolter Elbersen, Ana Luisa Fernando, Eleni G. Papazoglou, Efthymia Alexopoulou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


This study deals with approaches for a social-ecological friendly European bioeconomy based on biomass from industrial crops cultivated on marginal agricultural land. The selected crops to be investigated are: Biomass sorghum, camelina, cardoon, castor, crambe, Ethiopian mustard, giant reed, hemp, lupin, miscanthus, pennycress, poplar, reed canary grass, safflower, Siberian elm, switchgrass, tall wheatgrass, wild sugarcane, and willow. The research question focused on the overall crop growth suitability under low-input management. The study assessed: (i) How the growth suitability of industrial crops can be defined under the given natural constraints of European marginal agricultural lands; and (ii) which agricultural practices are required for marginal agricultural land low-input systems (MALLIS). For the growth-suitability analysis, available thresholds and growth requirements of the selected industrial crops were defined. The marginal agricultural land was categorized according to the agro-ecological zone (AEZ) concept in combination with the marginality constraints, so-called 'marginal agro-ecological zones' (M-AEZ). It was found that both large marginal agricultural areas and numerous agricultural practices are available for industrial crop cultivation on European marginal agricultural lands. These results help to further describe the suitability of industrial crops for the development of social-ecologically friendly MALLIS in Europe.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberen12163123
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2019


  • Bio-based industry
  • Bioeconomy
  • Bioenergy
  • Biomass
  • Industrial crop
  • Low-input agriculture
  • Marginal land
  • Perennial crop
  • Sustainable agriculture


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