Yield and spatial supply of bioenergy poplar and willow short-rotation coppice in the UK

Matthew J. Aylott, E. Casella, I. Tubby, N. R. Street, P. Smith, Gail Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

246 Citations (Scopus)


Limited information on likely supply and spatial yield of bioenergy crops exists for the UK. Here, productivities are reported of poplar (Populus spp.) and willow (Salix spp.) grown as short-rotation coppice (SRC), using data from a large 49-site yield trial network.

A partial least-squares regression technique was used to upscale actual field trial observations across England and Wales. Spatial productivity was then assessed under different land-use scenarios.

Mean modelled yields ranged between 4.9 and 10.7 oven-dry tonnes (odt) ha(-1) yr(-1). Yields were generally higher in willow than in poplar, reflecting the susceptibility of older poplar genotypes to rust and their tendency for single stem dominance. Replacing 10% of arable land, 20% of improved grassland and 100% of set-aside grassland in England and Wales with the three most productive genotypes would yield 13 Modt of biomass annually (supplying 7% of UK electricity production or 48% of UK combined heat and power (CHP) production).

Results show existing SRC genotypes have the immediate potential to be an important component of a mixed portfolio of renewables and that, in future, as new and improved genotypes become available, higher yields could extend this potential further.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-370
Number of pages13
JournalNew Phytologist
Issue number2
Early online date5 Mar 2008
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008


  • biomass
  • empirical model
  • geographic information system (GIS)
  • Populus (poplar)
  • Salix (willow)
  • short-rotation coppice (SRC)
  • yield
  • biomass production
  • water-use
  • carbon sequestration
  • hybrid poplar
  • clones
  • traits
  • growth
  • productivity
  • populus
  • energy


Dive into the research topics of 'Yield and spatial supply of bioenergy poplar and willow short-rotation coppice in the UK'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this