Short rotation forestry (SRF)

Last changed: 11 July 2019

Fast-growing deciduous tree species can be used to replace fossil fuels and to diminish human impact on the climate. Our research contributes to a more efficient and environmentally sustainable cultivation of tree plantations for bio-energy purposes. One of our research applications is the possibility to use fast-growing woody species as a vegetation filter which turns waste products into a valuable resource. Many of our results can be applied directly by growers and extension workers.

SLU has been performing research on fast-growing deciduous tree species during decades and many of our results have been implemented in commercial practice. Our current research mainly targets species within the genera Salix, Populus, Betula and Alnus.

Swedish plantations of fast-growing willow species are often called ’energy forests’ and their main market is wood chips for bio-energy purposes. Larger assortments of poplar may also be used in the paper and pulp industry. 

Vegetation filter

We also exploit the use of fast-growing deciduous trees to clean sewage water and as vegetation filter to take up heavy metals and other pollutants in sewage sludge and ash (phyto-remediation).  To use sewage water and sludge in energy forests is an efficient way to recycle phosphorus and nitrogen and to turn societies’ waste into useful biomass and heat/power.

Interaction between crops and weeds

Another of our research areas deals with interactions between crops and weeds. In this subject area we have an extensive cooperation with the research group Plant Ecology & Weed Biology. Weed control is   necessary also in short rotation forest plantations - during establishment - and is of vital importance for biomass production later on.


Fast-growing woody plantations may also enhance biodiversity of the agricultural landscape. In for example a willow plantation, more – and also different – species of insects, plants and birds can be found compared with the adjacent conventional agricultural fields. Biodiversity also is a research subject to us.
Several other research groups at SLU also have a focus on fast-growing deciduous tree species, for example tree improvement with molecular methods, interactions between (harmful and beneficial) insects and cultivated tree species, and interactions between fungi and trees.

Our projects


Effects of plant material and planting on willow establishment/growth

Contact: Theo Verwijst

Effect of planting system, weed pressure and resource levels on the population dynamics and biomass production of willows


Poppel på jordbruksmark – Betydelse för markkol och utlakning, samt effekt av gödsling

Contact: Ioannis Dimitriou

Poppel på åkermark – Modell-studier för volym- och biomassaskattningar vid olika skötselmetoder och effekten på stubb-skottens tillväxt efter gödsling

Contact: Ioannis Dimitriou

Synthesis project Poppel/Skogskötsel

Contact: Ioannis Dimitriou

Short Rotation Woody Crops (SRC) plantations for local supply chains and heat use

Contact: Ioannis Dimitriou

Eurocoppice (Innovative management and multifunctional utilization of traditional coppice forests - an answer to future ecological, economic and social challenges in the European forestry sector)

Contact: Ioannis Dimitriou

Bedömning av biomassa produktion och ekosystemtjänster av poppelodlingar i Sverige

Contact: Ioannis Dimitriou

Etablering av poppel med långa sticklingar på betesmark i Uppland

Contact: Almir Karacic

SnowTiger: Highly productive and climate adapted poplar clones for the energy and forestry sector in the Baltic Sea Region

Contact: Almir Karacic

WoodBio: Wood Biomass in the Nordic Bioeconomy

Contact: Almir Karacic

Fertilization study in poplar plantations with established sprouts

Contact: Birger Hjelm

A pilot study of poplar plantations optimal rotation period and its growth dynamics under different planting densities

Contact: Birger Hjelm

Empirical modelling for estimations of poplars volume and biomass under different management regimes

Contact: Birger Hjelm


Ramböll phytoremedation project

Contact: Ioannis Dimitriou

Environment and genetics

Optimized Utilisation of Salix - OPTUS

Read more about OPTUS

Alternative uses of Salix wood as raw material in production of biofuels and novel bio-chemicals
Contact: Martin Weih

Climate-Adapted Poplar through more efficient breeding and better tools for matching genotype and site – developing the poplar bio-economy market in Sweden and the Baltic (CLAP)

Read more about CLAP)

Contact: Martin Weih, Almir Karacic

High and sustainable biomass production of Salix: Bridging molecular genetics, ecophysiology and plant breeding  (SAMBA)

Read more about SAMBA 

Contact: Martin Weih Swedish Energy Agency


Theo Verwijst, professor Short Rotation Forestry
Institutionen för Växtproduktionsekologi, SLU +46 (0)18-67 25 50