Previous PageTable Of ContentsNext Page


Area and inventory date

Total area of poplar plantations: 253 700 ha (1998), of which 21 000 ha scattered in agroforestry (1993:

245 000 ha including scattered trees), or 1.52% of the forest area. The total standing volume in 1997 was about 23.8 million m³ (1993: 27.3 million m³) of which 4.21 million m³ were scattered and in lines. Annual increment: 1.26 million m³ (1993: 1.6 million m³). In the medium-term the standing volume is expected to increase again. The area of poplars increased about 5% between 1994-1998.

Economic data

Consumption: 2.33 mn m³ in 1999 (almost the same as in 1996), 54% of which for peelers.

Imports: 183 037 tonnes (1999), mainly from Belgium, Spain and Germany (1996: 136 720 tonnes).

Exports: 328 811 tonnes (1999) mainly to Italy (1996: 332 507 tonnes).

Policy and legislation

The list of poplar cultivars, promoted for the different regions of the country and financied by public funds, was modified in 1997, to take account of developments in susceptibility to diseases and to promote diversification. In 1998, a series of recommendations related to poplar plantation and reforestation using cultivars promoted by public funds were defined, in order to have a tool to assess the success and returns of the projects. There are 23 cultivars in the offical list.

In the European context, since 1st January 2000 the new regulation for rural development has been applied. Financial support to the growing of poplars has continued, but increased attention has been given to environmental criteria due to the negative public perceptions of the environmental impact of poplar plantations, especially in those areas where there has been most rapid expansion.

Technical data

Populiculture in France was dominated by two main events:

Intensive poplar research activity is being developed by three institutions in close coordinaion: AFOCEL, Cemagref and INRA, which are going to constitute a scientific cluster, Genètique, Amèlioration et Protection du Peuplier" (GIS Peuplier).

Concerning poplar genetic improvement, there are several active programs, which consider Populus deltoides, P. trichocarpa and P. nigra. Improved populations were established. The selection for durable resistance to rust is one of the more important aims of research programmes. Valuable advances were made in marker-assisted selection, to address breeding programmes with more precision. The bases for identification, Quantitative Traits Loci (QTLs) associated with individual marker loci, have been studied. The characters considered are mainly resistance to disease and insect attack, and wood quality.

Important progress has been made in biotechnology, especially concerning resistance to leaf insects, modification of lignin content, gluthation metabolism and stress resistance. The first trials with transgenic poplars, harvested in 1998, have given valuable results about stability of the transgenic expression.

A broad series of ecological and environmental aspects (such as poplar adaptation to hydric pressure and mechanisms of cellular protection to osmotic shock) have been studied.

France is actively participating in the EUFORGEN programme, coordinating action in Populus nigra conservation.

General information

The National Poplar Commission has held three meetings. Its composition, unchanged since 1995, is being changed in 2000. The Commission has modified the list of poplar clones financed by public funds, and has issued the circular Populiculture et environnement (DERF/SDF 98-3021), which has been applied since 1998.

In the period 1996-1999, INRA has established durable scientific relationships with Chile and China.

An important scientific event in 1999 was the organisation by INRA of the second Symposium International de la Biologie des Peupliers et des Saules (IPSII); the proceeedings have been published by INRA.

The national report of France cites a considerable body of literature published during the period.

Previous PageTop Of PageNext Page