BioEnergy Research

, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 537–545 | Cite as

Impact of Willow Short Rotation Coppice on Water Quality

  • Ioannis DimitriouEmail author
  • Blas Mola-Yudego
  • Pär Aronsson


Short rotation coppice (SRC) with willow has been grown in Sweden from the late 1980s to produce biomass for energy on agricultural land. This study evaluated the effects of SRC on water quality by determining differences in leaching of nitrogen and phosphorus to groundwater of a number of commercial “old” SRC willow stands in Sweden compared to adjacent arable fields grown with “ordinary” crops. The study was conducted in 16 locations under three vegetation seasons. NO3–N leaching from willow SRC fields was significantly lower than that from reference fields with cereals. The opposite was observed for PO4–P; concentrations in the groundwater of SRC were higher compared to reference fields. Sewage sludge applications were not responsible for the elevated PO4–P leaching under SRC compared to reference crops.


Bioenergy Biomass Energy forest Nitrate leaching Phosphorus leaching Salix 



The authors wish to express their gratitude to all the land owners that allowed us to establish the groundwater pipes and take samples from their fields and provided with valuable information for previous management regimes. Special thanks to Richard Childs who helped with establishing the pipes and with water sampling in all different locations. The study was financed by the Swedish Energy Agency's project 31455-1 within the frame of ERA-Net Bioenergy which is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ioannis Dimitriou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Blas Mola-Yudego
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pär Aronsson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Crop Production EcologySwedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU)UppsalaSweden
  2. 2.School of Forest SciencesUniversity of Eastern FinlandJoensuuFinland

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