Economic potential of short-rotation woody crops on agricultural land for pulp fiber production in the united states Academic Article uri icon


  • A model of the U.S. forestry and agricultural sectors is used to simulate the consequences of growing short-rotation woody crops on agricultural lands as a fiber source for pulp and paper production. Hybrid poplar, a short-rotation woody crop, annually produces 4 to 7 dry tons per acre of hardwood pulpwood over a 6- to 10-year rotation. When harvested, the material competes with pulpwood from traditional forests. The model-estimated optimal acreage varies from 1.5 to 2.8 million acres, less than 1 percent of cultivated U.S. cropland and less than 1 percent of U.S. existing timberland. That acreage generates about 10 to 16 million dry tons per year, depending on decade, and represents about 40 percent of current U.S. hardwood pulpwood output. The short-rotation woody crop production causes reallocation of existing forest lands across forest species types and ownerships. This level of short-rotation woody crop production reduces the timber management intensity of U.S. forests and promotes migration of some existing timberland into agricultural production.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Alig, R. J., Adams, D. M., McCarl, B. A., & Ince, P. J.

complete list of authors

  • Alig, RJ||Adams, DM||McCarl, BA||Ince, PJ

publication date

  • May 2000