History of the International Poplar Commission

At its outset the history of the IPC was closely linked with that of the French Poplar Commission. When the French Commission was set up under an ordinance of 25 January 1947 by the Ministry of Agriculture, the French Government instructed it to do its utmost to develop international cooperation aimed at promoting and fostering poplar cultivation and timber use. The French Poplar Commission therefore devoted considerable efforts to organizing a meeting of specialists from several European countries to discuss the problems faced at the time by poplar growers and users. Contacts had been facilitated by a study tour of Belgium and the Netherlands while the idea of an international meeting had been welcomed by FAO. From 19 to 26 April 1947 the French Poplar Commission organized an International Poplar Week. Eight European countries accepted the invitation of the French Minister of Agriculture - Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Their representatives quickly agreed on the principle of establishing an international poplar commission and FAO gave its formal backing. IPC thus was born, and 1947 can be regarded as the year when it was founded.

Enthusiasm and faith in the future of international cooperation were the godparents of the young commission, whose meetings followed each other at a fast pace. The second session was organized in 1948 by Italy, which has subsequently played an outstanding role in the success of IPC. A further four international congresses were held between 1945 and 1953. In 1954, a poplar conference for the Near and Middle East was arranged jointly by Lebanon and Syria. In 1956, Argentina received the participants in the First Regional Poplar Conference for Latin America. Participation in the sessions of IPC has grown ever since. At the tenth session (Italy) in 1959, 21 countries were represented by some 125 delegates while at the twentieth session (Hungary) in 1996, 27 member countries and 6 non-member countries attended, with 207 delegates, advisers and observers participating. At the most recent twenty-third session, hosted by China, 23 member countries and 6 non-member countries were represented by 185 delegates and advisers.

The 45th session of the IPC Executive Committee, held at the Institute of Agro-environmental and Forest Biology in Villa Paolina, Porano, Italy, 2010

The IPC was directly involved in the creation of the Populetum Mediterraneum as recommended by participants at the eighth session (Spain, 1955). The first plantations were established in 1956 at the Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Centre at Tivoli, Italy, near Rome, and in the following years a collection of some 300 clones of several poplar species was assembled. In 1966, IPC sponsored the establishment of another populetum near Cologne, Germany, which gathered about 60 clones cultivated in Central and Western Europe. Another populetum for the Near East was established near Ankara, Turkey.

last updated:  Monday, March 14, 2011