Short rotation plantations policy history in Europe: lessons from the past and recommendations for the future

Kevin N. Lindegaard, Paul W R Adams, Martin Holley, Annette Lamley, Annika Henriksson, Stig Larsson, Hans Georg von Engelbrechten, Gonzalo Esteban Lopez, Marcin Pisarek

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60 Citations (SciVal)


Short rotation plantations (SRPs) are fast-growing trees (such as willow (Salix spp.), poplar (Populus spp.) and Eucalyptus) grown closely together and harvested in periods of 2-20 years. There are around 50,000 hectares of SRPs in Europe, a relatively small area considering that there have been supportive policy measures in many countries for 30 years. This paper looks at the effect that the policy measures used in different EU countries have had, and how other external factors have impacted on the development of the industry. Rokwood was a 3-year European funded project which attempted to understand the obstacles and barriers facing the woody energy crops sector using well established methods of SWOT and PESTLE analysis. Stakeholder groups were formed in six different European regions to analyze the market drivers and barriers for SRP and propose ways that the industry could make progress through targeted research and development and an improved policy framework. Based upon the outcomes of the SWOT and PESTLE analysis, each region produced a series of recommendations for policymakers, public authorities, and government agencies to support the development, production, and use of SRP-derived wood fuel in each of the partner countries. This study provides details of the SRP policy analysis and reveals that each region shared a number of similarities with broad themes emerging. There is a need to educate farmers and policymakers about the multifunctional benefits of SRPs. Greater financial support from regional and/or national government is required in order to grow the SRP market. Introducing targeted subsidies as an incentive for growers could address lack of local supply chains. Long-term policy initiatives should be developed while increasing clarity within Government departments. Research funding should enable closer working between universities and industry with positive research findings developed into supportive policy measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-152
Number of pages28
JournalFood and Energy Security
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Biomass
  • Energy crop
  • Policy
  • Short rotation coppice
  • Short rotation plantations


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