Skip to main content
Report, 2006

Energiskogsodling på åkermark – möjligheter för biologisk mångfald och kulturmiljö i ett landskapsperspektiv

Weih, Martin


The report presents the results from an evaluation, in which the objectives were to (i) assess the possibilities of short rotation willow plantations to improve environmental qualities and the design of agricultural landscape, and (ii) evaluate how plantations of Salix should be localized and managed in order to support some of the Swedish environmental objectives. In addition, potential conflicts of interest should be identified, e.g., between economic constraints requiring maximized biomass yields on one hand and environmental concerns on the other hand. The methods included a literature survey and a questionnaire, which was sent out to central and local authorities, non-governmental organizations (environmental, bio-energy, landscape architecture), research institutes (university) and selected companies dealing with, or having an interest in, Salix business. A balanced synthesis of results was attempted by considering the opinions of various experts and authorities. Plantations of Salix and other fast-growing trees grown on agricultural land can improve biodiversity at landscape level, in particular if the plantations are established instead of cultures of cereals and spruce or fallow ground in a homogeneous agricultural landscape. Plantations of Salix can also positively affect soil properties compared to conventional agriculture. Particularly plantations of relatively small size can improve the aesthetic perception of homogeneous agricultural landscapes by adding variation and structure. Opinions of central and local authorities, non-governmental organizations etc. regarding the plantation of willow on agricultural land are often strongly biased due to incorrect knowledge on Salix culture and its effects on the environment. There is a large body of knowledge since many years on how plantations should be localized and managed in order to favour environmental and landscape qualities. However, this knowledge is rarely applied in commercial Salix culture in Sweden. Campaigns and guidelines to disseminate valid information on Salix culture and its effects on the environment to authorities and the public, as well as improved communication among authorities, will help to remedy the common lack of correct information. Regarding the localization of plantations, no serious conflicts between commercial and environmental Salix culture are expected if the willows are planted outside areas of high nature or culture conservation value. Synergy effects are possible if plantations are located nearby native woods. With respect to plantation management, the commercial practice of Salix culture might frequently conflict with the interests of nature and culture conservationists. An active dialogue between commercial Salix growers and nature/culture conservationists will facilitate feasible compromises between the two sides. Plantations of Salix can contribute to reach some of the Swedish environmental objectives such as "Reduced climate impact", "A non-toxic environment", "A varied agricultural landscape" and "A rich diversity of plant and animal life". However, some actions in support of particular environmental objectives could potentially conflict with actions in support of others. For example, maximized biomass yield in willow plantations maximizes also carbon sequestration and, therefore, supports the environmental objective "Reduced climate impact". However, management actions supporting maximized biomass yield can lower biodiversity and, therefore, conflict with the environmental objectives "A varied agricultural landscape" and "A rich diversity of plant and animal life". A mosaic of plantations with different primary goals, e.g., purely commercial or environmental, probably would contribute most to reach the Swedish environmental objectives.


biodiversity; energy crops; Salix; short rotation forestry; agriculture; landscape design; environmental concerns

Published in

Publisher: Institutionen för växtproduktionsekologi, Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet

Permanent link to this page (URI)