Productivity of wood energy plantations

Soon there will be published the estimates of productivity for short rotation plantations for bioenergy in Northern Europe. The basis for the calculations are here. The following map shows the estimates for 2010, for optimal conditions.

The estimates are based in the results of the Swedish commercial plantations during the last 20 years, including a few thousand plots, and the extrapolated to all the Northern area. The optimal conditions refers that these projections are based using the best plantations (around 25% of all the plantations). Areas in red correspond to about 10 annual dry tonnes per ha.
It can be seen that the predictions for the Baltic countries are somehow lower that would be expected based on the climate and soil. This is because the predictions aim to also reflect the potentialities of the agricultural sector of those areas, using the current agricultural production as a proxy.
The estimates are made for provincial level, and that is why Finnish Lapland looks all the same, although the potentials for plantations are restricted to agricultural areas, mainly in the south and west.

[Open access to full manuscript]


MOLA-YUDEGO, B. 2010. Regional potential yields of short rotation willow plantations on agricultural land in Northern Europe. Silva Fennica 44(1):63–76.


The development of short rotation forestry for bioenergy requires accurate and reliable yield estimates. This paper analyses the current, expected and potential regional productivity of short rotation willow plantations for six countries in Northern Europe. The estimations for present productivity are based on empirical models, using data regarding management, and local productivity based on the regional cereal yields. The estimates of expected yield rely on the current trends of yield increase from commercial willow plantations in the region. The estimates for potential yield are based on climatic restrictions. The results show potential average yields of 9.5, 6.8, 7.9, 9.0, 9.3, and 8.0 odt ha–1 yr–1 for Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden, respectively. The results of the study also show that there is a wide regional variation between the different countries. In Denmark, Finland and Sweden there is a convergence between the future forecasts and the climatic potential yields in the areas of high productivity. The Baltic countries seem to present lower estimates of present productivity, reflecting possible socio-economic restrictions, although they show a high biomass potential. The methods presented in this study can be further developed in other areas where willow cultivation is considered, and can serve as a basis for future economic considerations.

short rotation forestry, willow, production models, regional biomass supply, energy planning


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