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Potential Role of Exotic Poplar in Increasing Tree Cover
as an Alternative for Forest Restoration in India
Kulvir S. Bangarwa
Department of Forestry
CCS Haryana Agricultural University
Hisar-125 004, India
Area in km2
Geographical Area (%)
Very Dense Forest
Moderately Dense Forest
Total Forest Cover
Total Forest & Tree Cover
Growing Stock in Forest
Total Growing stock
6,047.15 m m3
Inside of Forest area
4,498.73 m m3
Outside the forest area
1,548.42 m m3
MAI in Forests
<1 m3 per ha
Per capita forest
National Forest Policy (1988) directed the wood
based industrial units to meet their future raw
partnerships with farmers.
• Supply of planting stock
• Technical extension services
• Buy-back arrangements
Agroforestry provides significant
particularly in countries like India
with subsistence agriculture, low
and degraded forest cover and high
• Agroforestry can improve the lives of
resource-poor rural populations by providing
sustainability of agriculture and food security.
• It can reduce the pressure on natural forests,
and has a potential to bridge the gap in
demand and supply of forest products.
Poplar (Populus deltoides): Poplar (introduced in 1950) is
one of the most preferred agroforestry species in fertile
and irrigated lands in northern India. Poplar has gained
considerable importance in agroforestry, mainly due to its
deciduous nature, fast growing habit, adaptability to
different environmental conditions and silvicultural systems
and above all high industrial demand.
Buy-back arrangement of the Farm Forestry
Project, which was implemented by the
Western India Match Company Ltd.
(WIMCO) from 1984 to 1990 that promoted
the poplar based Agroforestry plantations.
Populus deltoides is widely grown on a
rotation of 6-8 years.
A well drained & irrigated, deep and fertile
soil is suitable for poplar.
One year old bare rooted saplings are used for
transplanting in January-February with a
spacing of 8 x 3 m2 or 7 x 3.5 m2 or 6 x 4 m2.
Rows are to be planted in north-south direction to
provide maximum sunlight to agricultural crops.
G3, G48, L34, S7C15, Uday, Kranti and Bahar are
superior clones of poplar. WSL 22, WSL 27, WSL 32,
WSL 39, WSL-A26 and WSL-A49 are new clones.
Maximum production potential
plantation : 50 m3/ha/year
Production Potential of poplar
Maximum Production Potential
Average Production Potential
A progressive farmer in Yamunanagar District of Haryana achieved
the maximum production potential of poplar with 65 m3/ha/year.
He harvested the 965 poplar trees from two hectare
land with average girth of about 100 cm in six years.
Deciduous nature of poplar allows agricultural
crops to grow with lesser adverse affect.
During first two years, sugarcane is best.
Third year onwards shade-loving crops
like turmeric can be grown successfully.
Wheat during the winter and fodder crops
during summer season are better.
Poplar replaced Eucalyptus (with crash in prices)
in nineties due to the following advantages:
It has faster biomass growth.
It is more compatible with agricultural crops.
Leaves get decomposed & help in maintaining soil
It was easily saleable and fetches better prices.
It is easily propagated through cuttings.
But poplar was no more popular during 2001-2005
Farmers were forced to sell their produce at throwaway prices
anywhere between Rs.70 and Rs.155 as compared to
Rs.350-550 per 100 Kg.
• Farmers were compelled for pre-mature felling of
Sale price of 6-8 years old poplar tree with a girth of 1 m
was lower down to about Rs.500-600 per tree in 2004.
Marketing of poplar
Poplar wood has four rates ( Rupees per 100 Kg) depending on Girth.
Poplar wood pieces, measuring girth above 60 cm and are
free from knots, usually fetch maximum price followed by
wood pieces with girth between 45 and 60 cm, between
30 and 45 cm and less than 30 cm, respectively (the price
of poplar wood decreases as girth decreases). Poplar
wood is used for peeling by making wood pieces with the
length of 1.0 m, 1.3 m, 2.0 m and 2.6 m.
Market should be handled cautiously for getting
maximum sale price. Presence of knots in
selling stock can drastically reduce the sale
price of wood. Therefore, knot can be kept out
from the sale stock by selecting length
measuring 1.0 m, 1.3 m, 2.0 m and 2.6 m of
wood pieces depending upon position of knot.
Average wood production of a poplar tree with
girth of 100 cm is about 750 Kg
(above 60 cm)
45 per cent
18 per cent
12 per cent
25 per cent
Impact of Market on Poplar plantation trend
The poplar based agroforestry plantations had been increasing at a
very faster rate all over northern India up to year 2000. Prior to crash
in poplar sale price, 10 million trees were planted annually in 0.02
million hectares of lands with an average density of 400-500 trees per
ha. But poplar was no more popular among farmers during 2001-2004
because the prices of their produce touching an all time low.
Poplar wood has four rates ( Rupees per 100 Kg) depending on Girth.
Under (45-60 cm) Sokta (30-45 cm) Dandi (<30 cm)
After investing over six or seven
years, farmers see their dreams
Farmers were forced to sell their produce at throwaway
prices anywhere between Rs.70 (1.14 US$) and Rs.155
(2.55US$) as compared to Rs.350-550 (5.70-9.0 US$) per
100 Kg. Farmers were compelled for pre-mature felling of
poplar. Sale price of 6-8 years old poplar tree with a girth
of 1 m was lower down to about Rs.500-600 (8.0-9.8 US$)
per tree in 2004.
The low market price of poplar wood discouraged the farmers with the
result the farmers were compelled to deviate from poplar based
agroforestry plantations. Accordingly nursery growers also reduced
the production of poplar saplings in their nursery. Rates and demand
of poplar wood were start increasing by the end of 2004 and farmers
were again attracted towards poplar based agroforestry plantations.
Extent of poplar plantation was start increasing with faster rate.
Latest figure given in literature suggested that poplar plantations
in the country occupy an area of about 312,000 ha at a notional
density of 500 trees per ha and they are managed at a 6-8 years
rotation. Therefore, annual planting of poplar might be 80 million
poplar trees covering about 0.04 mha.
During 2001-04 2005
Lowest or nil Rising at fast
Income Potential of Exotic Poplar
Six to eight years old poplar trees, with girth measuring
1 m at breast height (1.37 m), fetches about Rs 4000
per tree and net income from poplar plantations can
be expected to be Rs 200000 (3500 US$) per
hectare. In this way poplar plantation is the
economically excellent alternative in increasing tree
• Forests have very low growing stock (61.72 m3/ha) & MAI (<1m3 per ha).
Poplar based Agroforestry is the economically excellent alternative for
replacement (double return) of wheat-Rice rotation in increasing tree cover.
• Assured market is essential for adoption of new technology.
• Market should be handled cautiously for getting maximum sale
price. Market trend decides increase/decrease of adoption.
Turmeric and Fruit trees with Poplar