A new digital tool to help poplar producers (developed jointly by Propopulus’ sponsor Bosques y Rios and the University of León (Spain)) was presented in the framework of the International Conference ‘Populus 360. Innovation, collaboration and challenges in the poplar sector’, held in Ponferrada last October. The application has been designed to offer certainty, data and instruments to both poplar growers and companies, to maintain, address climate change and improve the plantation surface of this forest species.
The web app is the result of an agreement signed in May 2021 by Bosques y Ríos and the School of Agricultural and Forestry Engineering (EIAF) of the University of León for the development of technological tools that help promote and improve the chain of value of the poplar sector.
Bosques y Ríos has accumulated over 25 years of experience in the cultivation of poplars and manages 1,700 hectares of poplar plantations in the Ebro and Duero basins in northern Spain. The company, which this year has planted 300 hectares, is currently a reference in terms of trials with clones and the sustainable management of its poplar groves which is endorsed by the two main forestry certification systems, PEFC and FSC.
Within the aim of the agreement, both entities jointly developed Chopo 4D (Poplar 4D), a free tool for estimating the volume of wood and the growth expectations of poplar plantations in each plot, as well as the amount of carbon kidnapped throughout their life span.
“That landowners and managers have a web application such as Chopo 4D allows them to estimate current and future stocks, just from a measurement of the diameter of the trees, indicating the age and density framework, is an advance that facilitates comparison (both in forestry and economic terms) between different clones, making it a supporting tool for decision making in the management of production plantations”, said Garnica López upon signature of the agreement.
This agreement also allows bachelor and master’s degree students in the forest specialties of the University of León to perform internships in the company Bosque y Ríos, thus completing their training in the poplar sector.
“This dual education-university training is crucial for a speedy labour insertion of our graduates, as well as for the populiculture sector, which requires specialized professionals with solid knowledge in this field for its optimal development”, said the assistant director of the EIAF, Flor Álvarez Taboada, when signing the agreement.
Another objective of this collaboration is the establishment of a network of permanent plots to monitor the evolution of the different types of clones. Having this information will allow improvement of plantation management, making them healthier and with a greater growth capacity.