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In China, one of the major distribution centres of poplar in the world, more than 53 native species of the genus Populus are growing in natural stands over 3 million ha. The country has the largest area of poplar plantations in the world, now over 6 million ha.

Policy and legislation

Poplar is one of the most important afforestation species in China and some large-scale projects of afforestation using poplars are being carried out in different regions of the country. In the 1990s, 264 000 ha of poplar plantations were established, funded by a loan from the World Bank and international donors have supported other poplar afforestation and research projects..

Technical data

Biotechnology is being applied in poplar breeding through the construction of poplar molecular linkage maps (the first genetic map for Populus deltoides x P. cathayana), marker-aided breeding of poplar with disease-resistance and poplar breeding by gene engineering. Major problems remain in poplar cultivation from insect and disease attacks, and poor management practices. Great efforts have been made to develop research on the properties of wood from plantations. A number of experiments were conducted on the suitability for plywood manufacture of more than 10 species. The use of poplar wood in the papermaking industry is growing.

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