Monday, 12 July 2010

From the Savannah to Southburn

The crop pictured, on both sides of the road, is a variety of Miscanthus or as it is commonly known Elephant Grass. Varieties of Miscanthus are more commonly found on the plains of Africa rather than in the fields of  East Yorkshire. However, Miscanthus has found favour as a bio-fuel crop due to the tonnages that can be produced per acre. It is burnt in power stations in the place of coal. With three coal powered power stations, including Europe's largest - Drax, in the Aire Valley ready to demonstrate their commitment to reduce the net amount of carbon dioxide they produce a ready market exists in the local area.

Companies have been set up to source farmers who would be willing to grow Miscanthus and diversify the nature of their business. As pressure grows to reduce carbon dioxide emissions then it is likely that greater areas of land may be given over to the production of non-food crops. With the crop being able grow to over ten foot tall this may have a profound impact on the landscape of the Yorkshire Wolds in the years to come.

The dense planting seems impenetrable to the casual observer but I'm that sure that it provides a valuable habitat to many local species as it does on the Savannah.

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