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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2009

The impact of Short Rotation Coppice plantations on phytodiversity

Baum, Sarah; Weih, Martin; Busch, Gerald; Kroiher, Franz; Bolte, Andreas


There is currently an increasing demand for wood as a renewable energy source Plantations with fast growing trees, such as poplars and willows, have been established, grown in a short rotation coppice (SRC) system A further increase of SRC plantations is expected in the future, but their effects on biodiversity are little known We give an overview of the current state of knowledge on the phytodiversity in SRC plantationsMany factors influence the vegetation in a SRC plantation E.g light climate and the tree age play important roles for species composition, species number and vegetation cover The older the planted crop, the shadier the conditions for the ground vegetation, wh ch is associated with a shift from annual to perennial and from light demanding to shade tolerant species Furthermore, the land use history and the vegetation in the surrounding landscape have considerable influence on species composition in SRC plantations. The more diverse the surrounding landscape, the more species are able to establish in the plantation Smaller plantations with longer edge habitats (ecotones) facilitate species immigration from the surroundings better than larger plantations. Smallscale structured plantations increase biodiversity.When comparing SRC plantations with other land uses, diversity is often higher than in arable fields and coniferous forests, but lower than in oldgrowth mixed deciduous forests If established in areas dominated by agriculture or coniferous forests, these plantations may increase regional diversity. Habitats of threatened species as well as areas adjacent to lakes or rivers should be avoided, whereas former arable lands and grassland fallows are generally well suited


biodiversity; energy crop; land use; landscape scale; poplar (Populus); sewage sluoge; site preparation; species richness; SRC; willow (Salix)

Published in

2009, volume: 59, number: 3, pages: 163-170

Authors' information

Baum, Sarah
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Crop Production Ecology
Busch, Gerald
Kroiher, Franz
Bolte, Andreas

UKÄ Subject classification

Renewable Bioenergy Research
Agricultural Science

URI (permanent link to this page)