Short rotation forestry

Short Rotation Forestry (SRF) is grown as an energy crop for use in power stations, alone or in combination with other fuels such as coal. It is similar to historic fuelwood coppice systems.

Species used

SRF is the practice of growing fast-growing trees that reach their economically optimum size between eight and 20 years old. Species used are selected on this basis and include Alder , Ash , Southern Beech , Birch , Eucalyptus , Poplar , Willow , [1] [2] New varieties of Paulownia elongata , Paper mulberry , Australian Blackwood and Sycamore .

Planting and harvesting

Trees are planted at widths that allow for quick growth and easy harvesting. They are usually felled when they are around 15 cm wide at chest height, this takes from 8 to 20 years. This compares with 60 years or more for standard forestry crops. When felled, SRF trees are replaced by new planting or, more usually, allowed to regenerate from the stumps as coppice. The wood chip produced by SRF is preferably more homogeneous than wood chips provided by short rotation coppice . The profit after transport is estimated to be around € 15 to € 30 per ton.

Greenhouse gas impact

During growth SRF will offer significant carbon sequestration . The main carbon cost is associated with haulage of the harvested trees.

Environmental impact

Some species such as Eucalyptus have a high water usage, this is especially important given the changing water patterns due to climate change. There are also potential impacts on biodiversity and the effects of large scale SRF on flora and fauna are not known.

See also

  • Biomass
  • Bioenergy
  • Energy forestry
  • Miscanthus
  • Non food crops
  • Poplar
  • Short rotation coppice
  • switchgrass
  • Wood fuel


  1. Jump up^ POPFULL project
  2. Jump up^ Harvesting of Salix and Populus