The growth rates and carbon stocks of unthinned young and mature stands of broadleaved trees growing on abandoned farmland were determined to assess whether their management regimes should involve short (15-year) or long (45-year) rotations to maximize biomass production and reductions of CO2 emissions. Dry mass production and mean annual increment (MAI) were calculated for 28 young stands and 65 mature stands of European aspen (Populus tremula L.), common alder (Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.), grey alder (Alnus incana (L.) Moench.), silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) and downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) ranging in latitude from 57° to 63° N in Sweden. The potential for using biomass from the stands to replace coal as a fuel and to store carbon was then evaluated both in short and long rotation scenarios. The results indicate that long rotations are beneficial if the objective is to maximize the average carbon stock in biomass. If, on the other hand, the intention is to optimize reductions in atmospheric CO2 emissions, rotations should be short for aspen, silver birch and grey alder stands. For downy birch and common alder, the MAI was higher for the mature stands than the young stands, indicating that in these species the mature stands are superior for both storing carbon and replacing fossil fuel. Stands of broadleaved trees grown to produce biofuel on abandoned farmland should be established on fertile soils to promote high MAI. If the MAI is low, the rotation period should be long to maximize the average carbon stock.