The aim of SIDATIM is to strengthen the European bio-based economy by researching and promoting potentials of new land use concepts. SIDATIM consists of two project parts.
The first part of SidaTim is devoted to examining the growth performance and utilization pathways of Sida hermaphrodita. For several years, properties of this plant species were already investigated in Poland, and it has yielded promising results. Sida is not only suited to be used as energy plant, but it can be used for various material usage purposes.
Yet, until today, there exists only scarce experience with Sida in other European countries.

In the second research pillar, the focus ode search lies on the production of valuable timber in an agricultural setting. A special focus will be put on the growing of valuable timber trees at the edges of fields or within existing hedgerows. Finally, we investigate in a synthetic approach how these two land utilization concepts can be combined, for example by assessing the shadow tolerance of Sida experimentally.

This three-year project is sponsored by the Bundesanstalt für Landwirtschaft und Ernährung (BLE). It is coordinated by the Chair of Forest Growth and Dendroecology at the University of Freiburg and the 3N Centre of Experts. Other project partners include Cranfield University (UK), the West Pomeranian University of Technology Szczecin (PL), the Council for Agricultural Research and Economics (IT), and the Institute of Agro-environmental and Forest Biology (IT).

In assessing the potentials of these two land use concepts, and of the combined management of both in an agroforestry approach, SidaTim will provide an important contribution to exploring agricultural management systems that combine an intensification of agriculture with increased ecological value. SidaTim will comprise assessments of different establishment practices of Sida, of its growth potential in different European regions and climate conditions, its suitability for new techniques of biogas production, for direct combustion, and for fiber products. We will also assess its shade tolerance, which is of importance when it is used as an intercrop between trees in agroforestry systems. The growth patterns and light profiles of valuable timber trees will be assessed via new Terrestrial Laser Scanning techniques, to model the effect of the trees on the light regime of the crops. The project objectives will be complemented by studies in C-sequestration potentials, biodiversity, Sida’s potential to invade autochthonous biocenoses, modelling of costs and benefits of different management scenarios, and by disseminating the project’s results among practitioners and decision-makers.