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Mapping energy crop cultivation and identifying motivational factors among Swedish farmers

Journal article
Authors Madelene Ostwald
Anna Jonsson
Victoria Wibeck
Therese Asplund
Published in Biomass & Bioenergy
Volume 50
Pages 25-34
ISSN 0961-9534
Publication year 2013
Published at Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
Centre for Environment and Sustainability
Pages 25-34
Language en
Keywords Land-use change Drivers Barriers Farmers’ incentives Energy crop cultivation Crop residue
Subject categories Media and Communications, Other Agricultural Sciences, Environmental Engineering


Based on a meta-study, the paper describes the existing options, areal extents, and Swedish farmers’ conditions for energy crop production promoted by the governments to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The drivers of and barriers to cultivating various energy crops are described in terms of a variety of motivational factors. The approach used peer-reviewed and gray literature using three Internet sources. Questions addressed include the energy crops available to Swedish farmers and how well established they are in terms of areal extent. What drivers of and barriers to growing energy crops do farmers perceive? How do various motivational factors for these drivers and barriers correspond to the adoption of certain energy crops? The results indicate that 13 energy-related crops are available, of which straw (a residue), oil crops, and wheat are the most extensively produced in terms of cultivated area. Results confirm earlier research findings that con- verting from annual to perennial crops and from traditional crops or production systems to new ones are important barriers. Economic motivations for changing production systems are strong, but factors such as values (e.g., esthetic), knowledge (e.g., habits and knowledge of production methods), and legal conditions (e.g., cultivation licenses) are crucial for the change to energy crops. Finally, there are knowledge gaps in the literature as to why farmers decide to keep or change a production system. Since the Swedish government and the EU intend to encourage farmers to expand their energy crop production, this knowl- edge of such motivational factors should be enhanced.

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