Evaluation of hybrid poplar clones under intensive cultivation for biomass production in Qu�bec
Three experimental plantations were established in 2012 at three sites in the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Lac-Saint-Jean regions to promote and demonstrate the short-rotation-intensive-culture (SRIC) hybrid poplar crop concept for biomass production. The general objective of this study was to evaluate already-available material for poplar plantations and new hybrid poplar clones, obtained from breeding at the Direction de la recherche forestire, for SRIC. Many performing clones from different hybrids with Populus maximowiczii, P. nigra, P. trichocarpa, P. deltoides (MxN, MxT, MxD, etc.) are already available for evaluation of their characteristics under various coppicing regimes. The plantations were established in collaboration with regional organizations involved in energy crops like Osons l'Osier and Nutrinor to compare coppicing ability and biomass yield among poplar clones. Preliminary growth results obtained after the first growing season are presented for several clones. Significant clone differences are expected in vigour, yield, and coppice regrowth after repeated rotations. Mechanical harvesting of the crop may also have a strong influence on resprouting and sustainability of the stools over repeated growth cycles.