Poplars and willows

Poplars and willows were among the first forest tree species to be domesticated. Farmers in temperate and sub-tropical zones have incorporated them in agricultural systems and the rural landscape for hundreds of years, due to their fast growth, wide range of products and other benefits, and ease of propagation by vegetative means. In the case of the poplars the ability to hybridize within the broad taxonomic sections of the genus Populus has also been important. Poplars and willows are mostly fast-growing, easy to propagate vegetatively, and provide a wide range of goods and services. Their adaptability to a wide range of climatic and soil conditions has led to their widespread use in developed and developing countries; they play an important role in rural life in countries with economies in transition.

View of poplars crowns, China. Photo: Bruce Neill/Laura Poppy/Bill Schroeder

Traditionally, the growing of poplars has been integrated with several agricultural systems in the temperate and subtropical zones, while new fields of interest have included the use of poplars and willows as biomass for renewable energy, and for soil remediation in polluted sites.

For more information on international efforts to protect, promote and cultivate poplars and willows, click to theInternational Poplar CommissionWeb site. The GCP/CPR/009/BEL Project's website in the Korqin Sandy Lands in Northern China, provides information on integrated restauration, reforestation strategies, genetic conservation and breeding of poplars and willows in this region.
last updated:  Monday, January 10, 2011