Environmental Benefits of Short Rotation Forestry (SRF)

    Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) and Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) plantations on agricultural land offer multiple environmental advantages compared to annual crop production systems.

    The most substancial benefits include:

    • Extensive, low-input field management vs. conventional farming
    • Very low quantities of herbicides and other chemical plant protection measures required
    • No nitrate wash out in ground water as only small fertilizer amounts needed to achieve full productivity 
    • Significant reduction of erosion problems
    • High and complementary biodiversity potential
    • Efficient connection of biotope areas via SRC plantations
    • Optimized micro climate, filtering of air pollutants as well as windshield function
    • Enrichment of soil organic matter and additional sequestration of atmospheric CO2
    • Adding diversity to areas dominated by intensive agriculture
    • Habitat for wildlife and insects
    • Low transport emissions for produced biomass based on high regional growing and yield potential

    Fast growing trees for climate protections

    Maximum green house gas savings at minimal costs

    Short rotation plantation based bioenergy value chains for electricity and heat production enable much higher CO2 savings in comparison to traditional energy crops.

    At the same time the CO2 mitigation costs are only a fraction compared to biofuels from rapeseed, corn or biogas from maize silage. If natural gas or fuel oil for heating purposes is replaced by wood from biomass plantations economic viability is usually achieved even without any subsidies.

    Position of the German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union

    "Energy plantations provide high dry matter yields and high greenhouse gas savings at minimum costs. From a climate and environmental point of view they have a clear edge over conventional bioenergy such as biodiesel from rapeseed or biogas from maize silage. Even from the perspective of nature conservation short rotation plantations offer attractive opportunities. They should assessed of higher value as intensively cultivated arable crops."

    Olaf Tschimpke, president of German Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU) - translated from German

    GHG reduction efficiency