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There are five native poplar species: Populus davidiana (its natural distribution is estimated to be about 3 000 ha in South Korea), P. glandulosa, P. maximowiczii (the total area of the natural distribution is estimated to be about 500 ha), P. koreana and P. simonii.

The planting area for poplar has been drastically reduced from 4 244 ha of annual planting in 1992 to 16 ha in 1996. There has practically been no poplar planting since 1997. Poplar wood produced Korea has already lost its price competitiveness to imported wood in the domestic markets.

Economic data

The wood demand exceeds the production. However, both lumber and plywood made of mostly imported wood are exported back to the countries such as Japan, China, Germany, Indonesia and others. In 1998 146 m³ were exported and 5 350m³ were imported (as logs and lumber from Russia, China, USA and Germany).

Policy and legislation

No changes have been made in policies and laws regarding both the cultivation and the utilization of poplars and willows since 1996. The ban on the planting of poplars on river banks has remained in force, for reasons of preventing flooding during the rainy season, although since the law was enacted in the 1980s river and flood control has been improved.

Technical data

At present efforts are being made to identify clones using molecular markers. Recent advance in genetic engineering has reached the field of poplar breeding for plant regeneration from transgenic cell lines. Many genes that had been tested with crop and herbaceous plants have been transferred to poplar; these include a herbicide resistant gene.

General information,

The Korea Poplar Commission held a symposium on fast growing tree species to stimulate poplar planting, with a study tour every year. In 1999, the Commission established a new improved clone (of P. davidiana) plantation as an exhibition forest. The members of the Executive Committee of Korea Poplar Commission have remained unchanged since 1996.

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