[Agroforestry] Re: Use of Lombardy poplars

Nick Maclaren nmm1 at cus.cam.ac.uk
Thu Sep 22 03:27:56 EST 2005


In article <hxjPnsCukcMDFwQm at drumin.demon.co.uk>,
Will Anderson  <will at drumin*.com> wrote:
>How about
>
>http://www.rfs.org.uk/thirdlevel.asp?ThirdLevel=196&SecondLevel=35
>
>gives you a potted history of poplars in UK.

Thanks very much.

>Large areas of plantation were owned at one time by Bryant & May for 
>matchstick production but they went out of business (in UK) a few 
>decades ago.

Ah!  A slightly later version of the pitprop market.

>Much planting (as with much forestry!?!) is based on possible future or 
>niche uses. It can be used for pulp, box manufacture and many other 
>things. I know of one forester who is selling it for coffin manufacture!

Well, yes, but those aren't grounds for any rational person planting
a stand of such things.  As with the trash softwoods of much of the
UK's moorland, you are doing well if you cover even the costs!

>In some cases it is planted on wet agricultural ground for shelter or 
>windbreak purposes. Often with embarrassing future consequences when it 
>blows over.

Yes.  I was discounting those.  Shelter and windbreak planting is very
obviously different from stands planted for cropping.

>There is interest in it now in use for energy crops, like willow, if 
>grown on a short rotation, primarily because it is robust (if a 
>selectively bred clone is used) and a good volume producer.

That is just plain bonkers.  It is unsuitable for burning in open
fires, and the UK is showing no signs of setting up power stations
to use such fuels.  Even if they were to be viable here, which is
very doubtful, and Norfolk reed were not a rather better crop for
the purpose on similar land!

>A very good summary can be found in FC Bulletin 92 by J. Jobling. He has 
>a good comment "As with all special purpose woods, a use does not 
>necessarily imply the existence of a market"!

Quite.


Regards,
Nick Maclaren.


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