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
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.