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Willow crop

Energy Forestry

Existing sources are unlikely to meet future demand for woodfuel. So new sustainable wood fuel sources are needed to fill the gap. Short rotation crops are one option being investigated.

Growing wood fuel specific crops by short rotation coppice or short rotation forestry has the potential to meet the demand but we need to know more about how these techniques would fare in Scotland.

Forestry Commission Scotland and Forest Research are establishing country-wide energy forestry exemplar trials which will provide us with that information. They will establish the potential of short rotation crops for wood fuel production and will serve as demonstrational and educational resources.

Short rotation forestry

This is when single stemmed trees of fast-growing species are grown on a reduced cycle (10 to 20 years), primarily for the production of biomass.

Short rotation forestry involves more time investment but also has the potential to be grown on as a timber crop, rather than as biomass, should the market dictate that this is a better option.

Because short rotation forestry can make use of more marginal agricultural land to produce a higher energy, higher quality product, it is seen as being the option that is best suited to Scotland's growing conditions.

Short rotation coppice

Short rotation coppice is woody vegetation grown on a repeated coppice cycle of 3-4 years specifically for the production of biomass. It has not been widely planted in Scotland since it requires high quality, arable land for good growth but produces a lower quality crop.

To find out more or to arrange visits to Energy Forestry Trial sites, contact:

Alan Harrison
Energy Forestry Project Officer (FCS)
Forest Research
Roslin, EH25 9SY
Tel: (+44) 0131 445 2176
Fax: (+44) 0131 445 5124
Mob: 0781 807 5482
E.mail: alan.harrison@forestry.gsi.gov.uk