Novel Pathways of Biomass Production: Assessing the Potential of Sida hermaphrodita and Valuable Timber Trees (SidaTim)

Sida hermaphrodita

The aim of SIDATIM is to strengthen the European bio-based economy by researching and promoting potentials of new land use concepts that comprise 1) innovative multipurpose plant species and 2) novel agricultural management approaches. For this purpose, research organizations and stakeholders from four European countries have joint.

One subset of tasks within SIDATIM is devoted to examining the performance of Sida hermaphrodita, a Northern American plant species that has already displayed very promising yield increments on field sites located in Poland, but which has received little attention from researchers and practitioners in Western European countries until today.

For example, Sida can serve as an alternative energy plant to corn for biogas production, and an alternative to woody crops typically used in Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) systems. Moreover, first research results indicate that it can also function as a basic compound for various material products, such as fibre products, particle or insulation boards, and as a substitute for turf. It appears to be well-suited for phytoremediation, can be used as fodder due to its high protein content, and its flowers provide abundant pollen and nectar for pollinating insects.

These tasks are summarized in the research pillar SIDATEST.

In a second research pillar, entitled AGROTIM, we aim at advancing and promoting knowledge about the production of valuable timber in an agricultural setting. Traditionally, the combined cultivation of an agricultural crop and woody plants such as trees is known as an agroforestry system (AFS).

In AGROTIM, we will put a special focus on the concept of “marginal agroforestry systems”, in which trees for valuable timber production are planted only at the edges of fields, into existing hedgerows, or on scarps and lynchets of low ecological value between fields. In this way, negative effects of trees on crops due to shading are minimized, whilst their positive effects such as erosion reduction, wind protection, ecologic and aesthetic upgrading of a landscape, are combined with an attractive additional income for the farmer.

Ultimatively, SIDATIM will assess and model the economic and ecological potentials of growing Sida in combination with valuable timber trees as a means to foster an intensified but also a diversified agriculture on a local and a regional scale in different European countries. The project includes both farmers and biomass consumers from the industrial setting, but it also addresses decision makers and other scientists working in the field of agroforestry.


In peer-reviewed journals

Other publications

  • SidaTim: Assessing the potential of new biomass crops and valuable timber trees in agroforestry systems
    Extended abstract submitted for the EURAF Conference (May 28-31, 2018, Nijmegen, The Netherlands).
    By Paris P, et al. (2018)  

  • Inventory of tree hedgerows in an Italian agroforestry landscape by remote sensing and GIS-based methods
    Extended abstract submitted for the EURAF Conference (May 28-31, 2018, Nijmegen, The Netherlands).
    By Chiocchini F, et al. (2018)

  • Modelling shadow in agroforestry systems based on 3D data 
    Extended abstract submitted for the EURAF Conference (May 28-31, 2018, Nijmegen, The Netherlands).
    By Morhart C, Rosskopf E, Nahm M (2018)   

  • Evaluation of new perennial grasses for biomass production in Italy.
    Proceedings of the 25th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (June 12-15, 2017, Stockholm, Sweden), 276-279.
    Facciotto G, Bergante S (2017)

  • Performance of Sida hermaphrodita and Silphium perfoliatum in Europe: preliminary results. Extended abstract submitted for the European Biomass Conference and Exhibition (May 14-17, 2018, Copenhagen, Denmark).
    By Facciotto G, et al. (2018) 

  • Potenziale nachhaltiger Landnutzung mit Agroforst-Systemen am Beispielprojekt SidaTim.
    Proceedings of the congress EcoInnovations from Biomass (June 28-29, 2017, Papenburg, Germany); p. 12.
    By Nahm M, Morhart C (2017) 

  • Multifunktionalität und Vielfalt von Agroforstwirtschaft. In C Böhm: Bäume in der Land(wirt)schaft – von der Theorie in die Praxis.
    Proceedings of the 5. Forum Agroforstsysteme (November 30 – Dezember 1, 2016, Senftenberg, Germany); p. 17-24.
    By Nahm M, Morhart C (2017).


Dr. Michael Nahm
Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany

Project partners:    

3N Centre of Experts - Lower Saxony Network for Renewable Resources e.V., Germany   

Consiglio per la ricerca in agricoltura e l'analisi dell'economia agraria (CRA), Italy   

Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy 

Cranfield University, United Kingdom      

West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin (WUT), Poland