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Research article2006Peer reviewed

Retreat from Salix - Swedish experience with energy crops in the 1990s

Helby P, Rosenqvist H, Roos A


A wave of Salix (willow) planting rolled over Sweden in the early 1990s, driven by subsidies and optimistic market expectations. The expected economic life span of such investments is 20 years or more. But in fact, many plantations were terminated or reduced much sooner. This article explores the reasons for this retreat. In a survey to Salix farmers, 41 per cent either have retreated or regretted starting at all. The reasons given are mostly agronomic, rather than economic. In particular, many farmers had planted on low-quality lands, ignoring best-practice advice. Policies in support of energy crops have been volatile and badly designed, in the sense of giving incentives to such reckless plantings, rather than promoting good farm management. Prices for wood chips have also been disappointing, but few farmers cite this as a key reason for termination or regrets. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved


energy crops; Salix; willow; bioenergy; energy policy; subsidies; CAP; set-aside; Sweden; farm management; decision making; economics; survey

Published in

Biomass and Bioenergy
2006, Volume: 30, number: 5, pages: 422-427

      SLU Authors

    • Roos, Anders

      • Department of Forest Products, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Renewable Bioenergy Research
    Agricultural Science

    Publication identifier


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