Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yields from short rotation coppice in Northern Europe

I post my last paper, in Silva Fennica, dealing with estimates for willow yields in commercial plantations in Northern Europe. It covers Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and offers a view of what we can expect in the next years from willow for bioenergy. Comments and feedback is very welcome, as well as new ideas for future papers.

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.

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