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New Zealand

Area and inventory data

No inventory of either poplar or willow production has been made in New Zealand. Information of this nature is now fragmented and difficult to gather under present conditions. Althought there is no stocked area data, specific timber plantations currently would not exceed 50 ha in total.

No data is available on the standing resource. Since the 1950's 6 million poplars have been planted in New Zealand, mostly for erosion control. A conservative estimate would be 1 million m3 standing volume but this resource is very scattered and largely unpruned.

Policy and legislation

No legal measures pertaining directly to poplar and willow cultivation were promulgated during the period.

Technical data

A review of the breeding programme in 1997 resulted in a new strategy for poplar introduction and breeding being proposed. Several crossings (27) were made in 1998-1999.

Since 1997 willow breeding was suspended due to the arrival of the willow sawfly, Nematus oligospilus. Future willow breeding will be directed towards producing sawfly-resistant material. A number of experimental crosses have already been made for sawfly resistance. Although general insecticides effectively control the larvae, their application may not be economic or environmentally acceptable, especially around waterways where willows are planted.

Marker Aided Selection is being used to determine resistance to Marssonina in poplars.

Phytoremediation studies, using poplars and willows (particularly interesting to remove cadmium) are being carried out.

General information

The National Poplar Commission (NZPC) currently is inactive due to changes in personnel and government funding levels of the research programme that supports the NZPC. Research results and technology transfer still continue to flow to end users through papers, client reports, field days and brochures and bulletins (from HortResearch and the New Zealand Research Institute, but not specifically targeting NZPC members). More recently, interest has been expressed in the formation of a poplar group to look at management and marketing of poplar. If such a group is formed, it could lead to the revitalization of the NZPC.

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