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Area and inventory date

The total area of mixed-stands, where poplar is the main component, amounts to 17.8 million ha (the vast majority of this resource consists of natural stands of mixed species). Canada´s inventory of Populus is estimated at 3.7 billion m³. There are no inventory data for willow. Stands classed as "poplar stands", where Populus is the main component, contain 1.6 billion m³ of Populus, stands classed as "non- poplar stands" contain the balance, or 2.1 billion m³ of Populus. The report describes the Populus resource as being the "last frontier" for the forest products industry in Canada, which has resulted in a new economic base for many rural communities. Aspen (largely Populus tremuloides) makes up 79% of the total inventory volume. Its brightness is important for paper manufacture and it is increasingly being used as oriented strand board (OSB), which is replacing plywood in building construction

Each province in Canada has full jurisdiction over its forest resources and development and organises its own forest inventory. The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers has established the National Forest Database Program to compile a national forest database to which the Provinces and Territories contribute.

Policy and legislation

Provincial Governments have full jurisdiction over management and agriculture regulations. British Columbia has an innovative tax policy and supporting regulations pertaining specifically to poplar and willow management; although some details remain to be addressed there are advantages in classifying the growing of poplar (and willow) species as being primary agricultural production, thus allowing greater flexibility in plantation management than if the crop were considered as a forest crop. Alberta is in the process of designing a tax policy for managed private woodlots. Other provinces do not have specific policies related to management of poplar or willow.

Technical data

There has been an intensive poplar research, mostly concerning poplar selection and breeding, carried out by universities, government organizations and private institutions. Traditionally efforts were devoted to the development and testing of hybrids of P. deltoides and P. nigra but have now expanded to include work in the selection of superior genotypes of P. tremuloides and the development of high-yielding hybrids - as well as investigations into suitable management techniques for these hybrids.

In this period, there has been considerable interest in genetic engineering of poplar. Pressing problems are the lack of cold-hardiness and frost tolerance in many of the hybrids tested, as well as the need for drought adaptation and disease resistance (especially to Septoria musiva). Several companies in the western provinces have been members of two genetic research cooperatives operating at the University of Washington and Oregon State University. During 1998 the Poplar Council of Canada conducted a survey for the Canadian Forest Service to gauge support for a similar biotechnology cooperative in Canada and companies expressed an interest in this.

General information

The Poplar Council of Canada (PCC), which in 1999 had 50 individual paid-up members and 17 corporate members, functions as the National Poplar Commission of Canada. It holds annual meetings of its members, usually themed technical sessions and study tours. Communication-related activities include a newsletter, which is published twice a year. PCC faces the type of problems encountered by most volunteer, non-profit organizations with minimal staff, difficulties that are exaggerated by the enormous geographical size and variety of the country. In spite of the challenges, they have found that the Internet is an inexpensive and accesible means of solving and improving communication and distribution of information. The Canadian report includes a long list of relevant publications.

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