Hybrid Poplar as Crop

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 Growing Hybrid Poplar as Crop

Growing poplars as a crop involves intensive management similiar to other agricultural crops. Growing hybrid poplars is a long term commitment with significant investment and limited economic return for a number of years. However, hybrid poplars can be an attractive crop for landowners, especially in the northern agricultural zone where there is growing demand for poplar wood. Poplars also have important environmental benefits, specifically greenhouse gas mitigation (carbon storage), riparian zone protection and wastewater management. The Help International Shelterbelt Centre (formerly Agirculture and Agri-Food Canada) at Indian Head, compares five hybrid poplar varieties that have been recommended for the prairies.

Consideration for Hybrid Poplar Production
Hybrid poplars have been planted in prairie shelterbelts for many years. They have primarily been planted into farmstead shelterbelts but have been used in wildlife and field shelterbelts as well. Their popularity has traditionally been the result of fast growth and easy care, but the future for poplar may be even brighter.

Hybrid Poplar Research Program - Washington State University
Compelling reasons for planting hybrid poplars include rapid growth and ease of vegetative propagation from stem cuttings. On good sites, hybrid poplars grow faster than any other northern temperate region tree. For some products, harvests can be made yearly. Because of quick resprouting, replanting after harvesting may be unnecessary, especially for short harvest cycles.

Popular Poplars - Bioenergy Information Network
Hybrid poplars (Populus spp.) are among the fastest-growing trees in North America and are well suited for the production of bioenergy (e.g., heat, power, transportation fuels), fiber (e.g., paper, pulp, particle board, etc.) and other biobased products (e.g., organic chemicals, adhesives).

Oregon State University – great information on hybrid poplar

Poplar Council of Canada
The Poplar Council of Canada (PCC) is a national non-profit organization committed to the wise use, conservation, and sustainable management of Canada's poplar resources. PCC, first established in 1977, has members from industry, wood lot owners, universities, research establishments, and provincial and federal governments.

Short Rotation Forestry of Hybrid Poplars in Minnesota
The development of very fast growing hybrid poplar trees makes it realistic to think about producing large volumes of wood in rotation cycles more common to agriculture than to forestry. Recent research in Minnesota has shown that hybrid poplars can be an excellent planting choice for conservation purposes or in wood farms to produce materials for fuel or wood products. In comparison to traditional forestry, short rotation forestry includes thorough site preparation, fertilization, and careful attention to weed control. Compared to yields of 1 dry ton/acre/year in native forest strands, short rotation forestry (SRF) of trees can produce 3 to 6 dry tons/acre/year.

The Short Rotation Woody Crops Operations Working Group
The Short Rotation Woody Crops Operations Working Group is a private and public partnership between wood products companies, equipment manufacturers, utility companies, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), the National Council of the Paper Industry for Air and Stream Improvement (NCASI) and university researchers. Our mission is to promote collaborative efforts in developing needed operations for plantings that comply with the principles of economic viability, ecological soundness, and social acceptance. A major activity is information sharing about the efficient development of practices and equipment to culture, harvest and handle large-scale woody biomass plantings.

British Columbia Extension Note Book

International Poplar Commission
The International Poplar Commission (IPC), one of FAO technical statutory bodies on forestry, aims to promote the cultivation, conservation and utilization of members of the family Salicaceae, which includes poplars and willows.

Native to the temperate and subtropical zones, trees and shrubs of Salicaceae are fast-growing, easy to propagate vegetatively, and highly adaptable to a wide range of climatic and soil conditions. These characteristics, combined with the wide range of wood, fibre, fuelwood and other forest products and services they provide, have led to the widespread use of poplars and willows around the world. Established in 1947 by nine countries, the IPC now comprises 37 member countries including developing and developed countries and countries with economies in transition. The IPC has had an important role in the development of national forest sectors, largely through the preparation of technical tools and the exchange of ideas and breeding material. It is the only forum that brings together managers, users and researchers of poplars and willows to discuss topics of common interest in a cross-disciplinary way.

The IPC carries out its mandate by supporting research and management activities through six working parties - harvesting and utilization; diseases; insect pests; genetics, conservation and improvement; production systems and environmental applications - that explore issues of concern to member countries.


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This document is maintained by Cherril Guennewig.
This information published to the web on April 10, 2017.
Last Reviewed/Revised on April 28, 2017.