Advantages of Short Rotation Plantations

    Short rotation plantations (SRP) - also named short rotation coppice (SRC) - are both high-performing and undemanding. Poplar and willow in particular are not only among the fastest growing trees – they also re-sprout from their stumps after harvesting. The same plants can therefore be harvested several times over a 15-25 years period.

    The economic and ecological advantages include:

    • Very low management expenses - provided professional weed control within the first year
    • Largely unaffected by the escalating prices of fertilizer, pesticides and fuel, compared to annual crops
    • Relatively stable financial income from the wood chips sales compared to high volatility of food crop markets
    • Mean annual increment (MAI) of 7-15 t dry matter over a plantation lifetime of app. 20 years
    • First harvest already of short rotation plantation after 3-4 years, but longer rotations possible
    • Efficient harvesting and logistics chain through multi-annual growth, even for small projects
    • Minimal nutrient removal due to wintertime harvesting after several years of growth
    • Humus accumulation leads to soil improvement and sequestration of additional CO2 from the atmosphere
    • Short Rotation Coppice enable a 3-fold higher climate protection effect compared to other bioenergy value chains on the same acreage more...
    • Higher biodiversity in comparison to intensively managed agricultural crops as well as various other conservation benefits more...
    • Short rotation plantations qualify as EFA (ecological focus area) within the green direct payment (“greening”) of the CAP reform more..

    Even sites with low soil quality or other restrictions are usually well suited for the cultivation of willow and poplar plantations.

    Summing up, short-rotation plantations are becoming an economically interesting form utilisation of agricultural land. Though, the long term commitment of the acreage must be considered during decision-making process. Hence a strategic cooperation with a reliable and regional energy wood consumers would be a promising approach for both sites – farmer and wood off-taker.

    As a specialized service provider for short rotation plantations projects Lignovis provides all relevant services for the professional establishment and management of poplar and willow plantations from one source. More...

    FAQ: yields, returns, establishment & tree species of SRP

    Which agricultural sites do qualify for a competitive cultivation of energy wood?
    Considering a local wood off-take and applying full cost accounting almost all agricultural lands are eligible for short rotation plantations. Compared to annual crops, the cultivation of energy wood on marginal soils with access to groundwater is particularly competitive.  

    What is the cost effectiveness of a short rotation plantation?
    According to standard calculation of a short rotation plantation by the German agricultural society (DLG), an annual return of around 400 € per ha SRP could be achieved before EU subsidies and support schemes. More...

    What is the yield of a short rotation plantation?

    Depending on the specific growing conditions a mean annual increment (MAI) of 7 to 15 t dry matter per ha could be achieved on average in Germany.

    What are the costs of planting a short rotation plantation?

    Depending on the project size and tree species (poplar / willow), the average costs is about 2,000 € per ha for cuttings and mechanical planting.

    Which tree species are suitable for short rotation plantations?
    Especially fast growing poplars and willows are used for SRP. These trees regrow from the stamps after harvest (coppicing), enabling a continuous cultivation. To increase the plantation’s profitability, high yielding and resilient tree breeding should utilised.

    Planting material and SRP services from Lignovis

    For small scale customers from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK we offer poplar cuttings and rods in our convenient online shop at

    If you are planning to establish your energy wood plantations all by yourself, you might find the information on our Webshop site usefull:

    Short Rotion Plantation impressions