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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Where and when are plantations established? Land-use replacement patterns of fast-growing plantations on agricultural land

Xu, Xiaoqian; Mola-Yudego, Blas


The location of fast-growing plantations for energy reveals valuable information concerning farmers' preferences and land use change patterns, necessary to have adequate environmental and economic assessments. The present study analyses the last decades' data concerning the establishment of willow, poplar and hybrid aspen plantations in Sweden. The analysis includes extension planted, a geo-statistical analysis of core location patterns, and the type of land being replaced or replacing plantations, for the period 1986-2017. The results show a steady decrease of willow plantations in recent years, which can be explained by changes in the policy framework (after 1996) and the increase in cereal prices (after 2007). The decline is partially offset by the establishment of new poplar and hybrid aspen plantations. New plantations tend to spread in southern areas; willow tends to be planted on higher productivity agricultural areas, and poplar on less productive land. There is a trend towards preferring smaller plantations (< 1 ha) versus large ones ( > 10 ha). Although many willow plantations have been established on previous cereal land (particularly on spring barley and winter wheat), this pattern changed after 2007, preferring grasses and fallow land. The latter is the most common land use replaced by poplar plantations. These shares may have important applications in economic and environmental assessments; the general spatial patterns of the main fast-growing species for biomass can provide a valid reference for the future implementation of bioenergy production systems.


Energy crops; Biomass; Willow; Poplar; Hybrid aspen

Published in

Biomass and Bioenergy
2021, Volume: 144, article number: 105921

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Agricultural Science

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