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The Second National Forestry Inventory (1995) reported a total area of poplar plantations of 102 830 ha, where Populus alba, Populus tremula and Populus sp., were the dominant species. According to official statistics, the poplar plantation has decreased significantly after the application of new regulations in 1993:

Poplar plantations established in 1998 - 1 156 ha (1992 - 3 216 ha)

Poplar plantations established 1989-1993 - 16 310 ha

Poplar plantations established 1994-97 - 8 544 ha

After some years of decrease, the willow plantation area is now stable. The area of osier production, the main willow application in Spain, has decreased to about 1 423 ha (1998).

Economic data

Poplar wood harvest in the last period has increased as a consequence of the policies encouraging poplar plantations adopted in the 1970s, thus:

In 1998, 716 979 m³ were harvested, exceeding the amount of the five preceding years.

In 1996: 547 323 m³ were harvested.

Wooden container production, using 85% of poplar wood, consumed 523 000 m³ in 1998.

During the reference period, poplar log imports (7 612 tonnes), were less important than in previous years, mainly from France. Exports, only to France, have assumed some importance in the period.

Policies and legislation

In the report period, the European Community regulations concerend with afforestation measures have been applied in Spain. Several decrees have been established and one of them has promoted the conservation of native species. However, the general results of the EC regulations have not encouraged private plantations, which have decreased by 40% in recent years, after the application of the Real Decreto 378/93. The present period is transitional between the end of national measures to promote afforestation, and the beginning of a new period, which will have a strong environment component.

Technical data

Poplar research activities, mostly about genetic conservation, selection and breeding, were carried out by the different Autonomous Communities. Tree selection, mainly with P. nigra and hybrids between Populus trichocarpa and Populus x euroamericana have already given valuable new poplar clones, some of which have been proposed for inclusion in the National Catalogue. AFLPs were used to characterize and identify the most interesting productive clones. The identification of Populus species was carried out by means of RAPDs.

In the framework of the EUFORGEN Programme, Spain is carrying out work on the Populus nigra collection. Genetic conservation projects on P. alba and P. tremula are being developed, with inventory and collection activities. Spain continues to be represented as part of the EC program EUROPOP.

General data

The National Poplar Commission from 1998 has been under the Dirección General de Agricultura. During the report period the Commission has held only one meeting. The country has exchanged material and information with 11 countries.

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