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Area and inventory data

The area where aspen (Populus tremula) is the dominant tree species is nearly 80 000 ha, or 0.3% of the total forest area of Finland. The size of the sites is in general very small (< 0.25 ha). This is nearly all (99%) natural aspen. However, as a mixed species aspen is more common. It is estimated that about 1.2% of the standing volume in Finland is aspen, which means about 21 million m3. Most of this is found in southern Finland (16 million m3), of which about 15% is saw logs and the rest pulp logs.

Economic data

Consumption of aspen is about 200 000 m3 annually, which is about 0.3% of the total annual wood consumption of Finland. Of this 10 000 - 15 000 m3 is used by the mechanical wood industry, the rest by the pulp and paper industry. The values of this are so small that they can not be found in the statistics.

About 150 000 to 200 000 m3/year of poplar roundwood is imported, mainly from the Baltic states and Russia.

Presently, there is a renewed interest in aspen by the pulp and paper industry. In 1996 a company started a new paper machine with a capacity to use about 300 000 m3 aspen wood annually, and in 2001 they will start a new pulp mill with an even larger capacity. Only natural aspen is used, but the industry is interested in wood from selected clones with superior fibre quality, produced under intensive cultivation. There are plans by one company to establish 1000 ha/year of hybrid aspen plantations within two years.

Policy and legislation

In 1999 the Finnish Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry approved regulations for the classification for reproductive material of aspen (P. tremula) and hybrid aspen (P. tremula x P. tremuloides). A guideline for the establishment of plantations with aspen and hybrid aspen, with regards to the number of plants per clone to be used in one single plantation, was published.

Technical data

In 1998 clones of hybrid aspen registered in the category of selected clones were also included in a series of field trials for testing and eventual upgrading, and in one clone collection for the identification of the clones. The selection of clones so far has been based on wood analyses.

General information

The National Poplar Commission has not been established yet, but will most probably be set up before the IPC-2000 meeting. The Finnish Forest Research Institute started a web site on aspen and a number of meetings with excursions were organised. There is far going research co-operation with Estonia and Sweden and research material has been exchanged. Regeneration material has been exported to Estonia

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