Institute for Technology Assessment and  Systems Analysis (ITAS)

Short Rotation Coppice enabling Environmentally Sound Production of Wood for Energy Purposes

Project description

The German federal government has ambitious goals for the expansion of renewable energy. Wood shall make a significant contribution. However, the increase of timber production in Germany is very limited, as the reserves of the national forests are already being utilized largely and the potentials of private forests are difficult to mobilize. Therefore, new ways shall be opened up to meet the growing demand. This includes the plantation of fast-growing, high-yielding trees, such as poplars and willows, on agricultural land. There are several test areas distributed nationwide, mainly for research and demonstration purposes, but till now no commercially run short rotation coppices (SRC). This has primarily economic reasons. Furthermore, there are uncertainties as to which areas and regions are suitable for the cultivation of energy wood. SRC may have a more favourable sustainability performance than annual energy crops. However, SRC imply, due to their life cycle of 20 and more years, a long-term intervention in ecosystems and the landscape. Depending on the location SRC may also counteract the targets of climate, groundwater and nature protection or cause land use conflicts.

Against this background, the project has the following objectives:

  • Development of criteria for selecting suitable areas for the establishment and management of SRC with respect to nature conservation, spatial planning and economic aspects;
  • Identification of conflicts of interest between agriculture, energy production, nature protection, water conservation, landscape planning and tourism;
  • Development of strategies for the environmentally friendly production of energy wood avoiding land use conflicts.

Special publications

Priefer, C.: Naturschutzfachliche Betrachtungen zu Kurzumtriebsplantagen. Kriterien der umweltverträglichen Holzgewinnung. Fallstudie im Studiengang Diplom Umweltwissenschaften.
Universität Koblenz-Landau 2010.

Eiselein, S.: Flächenpotenzial für Kurzumtriebsplantagen auf Grünland. Betrachtungen für Baden-Württemberg. Diplomarbeit am KIT, 2011.
Priefer, C.: Motivation der Betreiber, Hemmnisse und Nutzungskonflikte bei der Anlage von Kurzumtriebsplantagen (KUP). Eine empirische Untersuchung in Baden-Württemberg und Rheinland-Pfalz. Diplomarbeit am KIT und an der Universität Koblenz.Landau, 2011.


Journal Articles
Rösch, C.; Jörissen, J.
Hoffnungsträger Kurzumtriebsplantagen? Perspektiven und Herausforderungen im Überblick.
2012. GAIA - Ökologische Perspektiven für Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft, 21, 194–201 
Conference Papers
Knapp, M.; Rösch, C.; Jörissen, J.; Skarka, J.
Strategies to reduce land use competition and increasing the share of biomass in the German energy supply.
2010. Proceedings of the 18th European Biomass Conference and Exhibition. From research to industry and markets. Ed.: J. Spitzer, Spitzer, J. [Hrsg.] From Research to Industry and Markets : Proc. of the 18th European Biomass Conf.and Exhibition, Lyon, F, May 3-6, 2010 Florence : ETA-Florence Renewable Energies, 2010 DVD Successful Scenarios for the Establishment of Non-Food crops in EU27 : Final Workshop of the 4FCROPS Project, Lisboa, P, November 19, 2010, 34–39, ETA 
Rösch, C.; Jörissen, J.; Knapp, M.; Skarka, J.; Schultmann, F.; Haase, M.; Vogt, J.; Witte, S.; Hitzeroth, M.
Kurzumtriebsplantagen zur umweltverträglichen Gestaltung der Energieholzproduktion.
2010. Tag der Offenen Tür, KIT Campus Nord, Karlsruhe, 25.September 2010 
Journal Articles
Rösch, C.; Jörissen, J.; Skarka, J.; Hartlieb, N.
Flächennutzungskonflikte: Ursachen, Folgen und Lösungsansätze. Einführung in den Schwerpunkt.
2008. Technikfolgenabschätzung, Theorie und Praxis, 17 (2), 4–11 
Rösch, C.; Jörissen, J.; Skarka, J.; Hartlieb, N.
Wege zur Reduzierung von Flächennutzungskonflikten.
2008. Technikfolgenabschätzung - Theorie und Praxis, 17 (2), 66–71 


Dr. Christine Rösch
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-22704