Overview of hybrid poplar management in southern Quebec: The case of the Eastern Townships

1 Simon Bilodeau-Gauthier, TÉLUQ

2 Nicolas Bélanger, TÉLUQ

3 Patrick Cartier, Domtar

4 Pierre Gagné, Quebec Ligniculture network

5 Suzanne Brais, Forest Research Institute - UQAT

6 Lili Perreault, Forest Research Institute - UQAT

7 Gustavo Palma, Forest Research Institute - UQAT

There has been much development regarding the management of hybrid poplars in Southern Quebec in the last decade. Hybrid poplars have gone from “new kid in town” to “up-and-coming actor”; they show great promise, along with several raised eyebrows. In this presentation we will give an overview of the steps and actions undertaken so far, of new research projects currently underway, and of future challenges awaiting the sector. We will focus on two institutions involved with hybrid poplars: (1) the Réseau Ligniculture Québec is a not-for-profit organization that aims at connecting people in industry and academia and at fostering research and development, and (2) the company Domtar, with its paper mill based in Windsor, QC, is a leader in R&D on hybrid poplar. Together, these two actors have explored and tried out a wide range of operational techniques, planting sites, poplar clones, and fertilization materials, sometimes being puzzled by failures and sometimes marvelling at successes. The key is obviously related to choosing the right site, planting the right clone, undertaking the right mechanical preparation, and applying the right fertilization dose; however, predicting this optimal recipe before even harvesting the former stand remains a daunting task. What's more, all bets are still off as to what should be done on the site of a hybrid poplar plantation after the first rotation.