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Populus is a genus of 25–30 species of deciduous flowering plants in the family Salicaceae, native to most of the Northern Hemisphere. English names variously applied to different species include poplar /ˈpɒp.lər/, aspen, and cottonwood.

The western balsam poplar (P. trichocarpa) was the first tree whose full DNA code had been determined by DNA sequencing, in 2006.[1]

Rotor poplar and willow cuttings planter, planting a new nursery of poplar for biomass with short rotation

In the United Kingdom, poplar (as with fellow energy crop willow) is typically grown in a short rotation coppice system for two to five years (with single or multiple stems), then harvested and burned - the yield of some varieties can be as high as 12 oven-dry tonnes per hectare every year.[15] In warmer regions like Italy this crop can procuce up to 13.8, 16.4 oven-dry tonnes of biomass per hectare every year for biannual and triennial cutting cycles also showing a positive energy balance and a high energy efficiency.[16]

Fuel

In the United Kingdom, poplar (as with fellow energy crop willow) is typically grown in a short rotation coppice system for two to five years (with single or multiple stems), then harvested and burned - the yield of some varieties can be as high as 12 oven-dry tonnes per hectare every year.[15] In warmer regions like Italy this crop can procuce up to 13.8, 16.4 oven-dry tonnes of biomass per hectare every year for biannual and triennial cutting cycles also showing a positive energy balance and a high energy efficiency.[16]

Fuel

Biofuel is another option for using poplar as bioenergy supply. In the United States, scientists studied converting short rotation coppice poplar into sugars for biofuel (e.g. ethanol) production.[17] Considering the relative cheap price, the process of making biofuel from SRC can be economic feasible, although the conversion yield from short rotation coppice (as juvenile crops) were lower than regular mature wood. Besides biochemical conversion, thermochemical conversion (e.g. fast pyrolysis) was also studied for making biofuel from short rotation coppice poplar and was found to have higher energy recovery than that from bioconversion.[18]

Art and literature

Lombardy poplars are frequently used as a windbreak around agricultural fields to protect against wind erosion.

Agriculture

Logs from

Logs from the poplar provide a growing medium for shiitake mushrooms.[21]

Phytoremediation